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How does 'stress hormone' cortisol impact schools?

In the first of a three-part series exploring how body chemistry influences what happens in schools, Chris Parr takes a look at cortisol, the so-called ‘stress hormone’, and finds that the way we view stress needs some recalibration

Cortisol is known as the 'stress hormone' - but its effects in a school environment are not all bad, research shows

Of all the hormones, cortisol is the one most of us believe we have sussed. It’s evil, right? It sweeps through the body when we are stressed and it ravages us. Don’t leave that child to cry, don’t stress that toddler out, don’t manage behaviour like this or like that, don’t force exams on helpless teens, sort workload out for teachers – because, you know, cortisol.

“Everyone wants cortisol to be the bad guy and thinks that high levels are problematic,” sighs Emma K Adam, professor of human development and social policy faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research ...

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