Tracy Vaillancourt

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

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Publications (124)231.16 Total impact

  • John D Haltigan · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine trajectories of adolescent borderline personality (BP) features in a normative-risk cohort (N = 566) of Canadian children assessed at ages 13, 14, 15 and 16 and childhood predictors of trajectory group membership assessed at ages 8, 10, 11 and 12. Method: Data were drawn from the McMaster Teen Study, an on-going study examining relations among bullying, mental health, and academic achievement. Participants and their parents completed a battery of mental health and peer relations questionnaires at each wave of the study. Academic competence was assessed at age 8 (grade 3). Latent class growth analysis, analysis of variance, and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Results: Three distinct BP features trajectory groups were identified: elevated/rising, intermediate/stable, and low/stable. Parent- and child-reported mental health symptomatology, peer relations risk factors, and intra-individual risk factors were significant predictors of elevated/rising and intermediate/stable trajectory groups. Child-reported ADHD and somatization symptomatology uniquely predicted elevated/rising trajectory group membership, whereas parent-reported anxiety and child-reported ADHD symptomatology uniquely predicted intermediate/stable trajectory group membership. Child-reported somatization symptomatology was the only predictor to differentiate the intermediate/stable and elevated/rising trajectory groups (OR = 1.15, 95% CI [1.04-1.28]). Associations between child-reported reactive temperament and elevated BP features trajectory group membership were 10.23 times higher among children who were bullied, supporting a diathesis-stress pathway in the development of BP features for these youth. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate the heterogeneous course of BP features in early adolescence and shed light on the potential prodromal course of later borderline personality disorder (BPD).
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 12/2015; · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    Steven Arnocky · Marlena Pearson · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: Health has been identified as an important variable involved in mate choice. Unhealthy organisms are generally less able to provide reproductively important resources to partners and offspring and are more likely to pass on communicable disease. Research on human mate preferences has shown that both men and women prefer healthy mates. Yet to date, little research has examined how health relates to one's own mating experiences. In the present study, 164 participants (87 women) who were currently in heterosexual romantic relationships completed measures of frequency and severity of health problems, anticipated partner infidelity, and intensity of jealousy felt in their current relationship. Mediation analyses showed that health problems predicted greater anticipated partner infidelity and jealousy scores and that anticipated partner infidelity mediated the links between health and jealousy for both frequency and severity of health problems, controlling for both sex and relationship duration. These findings suggest that unhealthy people perceive themselves to be at a mating disadvantage, experiencing associated differences in perceptions and emotions surrounding their romantic partners' fidelity.
    Evolutionary Psychology 09/2015; 13(3):1-10. DOI:10.1177/1474704915593666 · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    Steven Arnocky · Shafik Sunderani · Wendy Gomes · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety is believed to have evolved, in part, as a signal of threats to survival or reproductive fitness. In a sample of 66 heterosexual undergraduate men who were currently in exclusive romantic relationships, we explored whether symptoms of anxiety mediated links between anticipated partner infidelity and men's intimate partner violence. Results indicated that symptoms of anxiety mediated relationships between anticipated partner infidelity and physical aggression, partner injury, psychological aggression, and sexual aggression toward a partner. Results are discussed in terms of the evolution of anxiety as an emotion that mediates reaction to adaptive threats.
    07/2015; 9(3):186-196. DOI:10.1037/ebs0000021
  • Patricia McDougall · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: The study of peer victimization has drawn together researchers, parents, teachers, and health professionals around the world in an effort to make change. Research attention has focused on the question of whether peer victimization in childhood and adolescence leads to lasting and serious negative ramifications in the lives of young people. We consider the wealth of information documenting the troubling adjustment that follows peer victimization within childhood and adolescence. Findings from prospective studies tracking children and adolescents into young adulthood are presented and synthesized. Using the construct of "multifinality" as our framework, we explore why it might be that early peer victimization does not have the same impact on all young people by considering factors that place individuals at greater risk or appear to protect them from more lasting harm. In addition to a need for carefully planned prospective studies, the field would benefit from the use of qualitative studies aimed at elucidating possible causal, concurrent, and resultant mechanisms involved with victimization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    American Psychologist 05/2015; 70(4):300-310. DOI:10.1037/a0039174 · 6.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Extremely low birth weight (ELBW; <1000 g) children may be at risk for experiencing peer victimization. We examined retrospectively reported peer victimization in ELBW and control children in the oldest known, prospectively followed, population-based birth cohort of ELBW survivors. We compared levels of verbal and physical peer victimization in ELBW and control children. We also predicted peer victimization in the ELBW sample from child characteristics. ELBW children, especially girls, were at an increased risk for verbal, but not physical victimization. In addition, ELBW children with a higher IQ reported higher levels of verbal victimization, although ELBW females who had a lower body mass index in childhood reported higher levels of physical victimization. Findings highlight the need for parents and clinicians to be aware that ELBW girls, especially those with a lower body mass index in childhood, may be at increased risk of peer victimization, as are ELBW children with a higher IQ. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Clinical Pediatrics 04/2015; DOI:10.1177/0009922815580770 · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the stability of cognitive and adaptive behaviour standard scores in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between diagnosis and school entry approximately age 6. IQ increased 18 points in 2-year-olds, 12 points in 3-year-olds, and 9 points in 4-year-olds (N = 281). Adaptive behaviour scores increased 4 points across age groups (N = 289). At school entry, 24 % of children met criteria for intellectual disability (cognitive and adaptive behaviour scores <70). No children with both scores ≥70 at diagnosis later met criteria for intellectual disability. Outcomes were more variable for children with initial delays in both areas (in 57 %, both scores remained <70). Findings are relevant to clinical decision-making, including specification of intellectual disability in young children with ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2433-6 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This prospective study characterized parents' concerns about infants at high risk for developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD; each with an older sibling with ASD) at multiple time points in the first 2 years, and assessed their relation to diagnostic outcome at 3 years. Parents of low-risk controls (LR) and high-risk infant siblings (HR) reported any concerns that they had regarding their children's development between 6 and 24 months of age regarding sleep, diet, sensory behavior, gross/fine motor skills, repetitive movements, communication, communication regression, social skills, play, and behavioral problems, using a parent concern form designed for this study. At 3 years of age, an independent, gold-standard diagnostic assessment for ASD was conducted for all participants. As predicted, parents of HR children who received an ASD diagnosis reported more concerns than parents of LR and HR children who did not have ASD. The total number of concerns predicted a subsequent diagnosis of ASD as early as 12 months within the HR group. Concerns regarding sensory behavior and motor development predicted a subsequent diagnosis of ASD as early as 6 months, whereas concerns about social communication and repetitive behaviors did not predict diagnosis of ASD until after 12 months. Parent-reported concerns can improve earlier recognition of ASD in HR children. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 03/2015; 54(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.03.014 · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE : The factor structure and validity of the Behavioral Pediatrics Feeding Assessment Scale (BPFAS; Crist & Napier-Phillips, 2001) were examined in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). METHODS : Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine the original BPFAS five-factor model, the fit of each latent variable, and a rival one-factor model. None of the models was adequate, thus a categorical exploratory factor analysis (CEFA) was conducted. Correlations were used to examine relations between the BPFAS and concurrent variables of interest. RESULTS : The CEFA identified an acceptable three-factor model. Correlational analyses indicated that feeding problems were positively related to parent-reported autism symptoms, behavior problems, sleep problems, and parenting stress, but largely unrelated to performance-based indices of autism symptom severity, language, and cognitive abilities, as well as child age. CONCLUSION : These results provide evidence supporting the use of the identified BPFAS three-factor model for samples of young children with ASD. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Pediatric Psychology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    Journal of Pediatric Psychology 03/2015; 40(6). DOI:10.1093/jpepsy/jsv006 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Symptom severity and adaptive functioning are fundamental domains of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) phenotype. To date, the longitudinal association between these 2 domains has not been examined. To describe the developmental trajectories of autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning in a large inception cohort of preschool children with ASD. The sample consisted of 421 newly diagnosed preschool children with ASD 2 to 4 years old (355 boys; mean age at study enrollment, 39.87 months) participating in a large Canadian multisite longitudinal study (Pathways in ASD Study). Prospective data collected at 4 points from time of diagnosis to age 6 years were used to track the developmental trajectories of children. Autistic symptom severity was indexed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Adaptive functioning was indexed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition. Two distinct trajectory groups provided the best fit to the autistic symptom severity data. Group 1 (11.4% of the sample) had less severe symptoms and an improving trajectory (P < .05), whereas group 2 (88.6% of the sample) had more severe symptoms and a stable trajectory. Three distinct trajectory groups provided the best fit to the adaptive functioning data. Group 1 (29.2% of the sample) showed lower functioning and a worsening trajectory, group 2 (49.9% of the sample) had moderate functioning and a stable trajectory, and group 3 (20.9% of the sample) had higher functioning and an improving trajectory (P < .05). Cross-trajectory overlap between the autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning groups was low (φ = 0.13, P < .05). Sex was a significant predictor of autistic symptom severity group membership and age at diagnosis, and language and cognitive scores at baseline predicted membership in adaptive functioning trajectories. Trajectories of both symptom severity and adaptive functioning predicted several different outcomes at age 6 years. Findings confirm the heterogeneous nature of developmental trajectories in ASD. Change in adaptive functioning suggests that improvement is possible in roughly 20% of the sample. Autistic symptom severity appears to be more stable, with roughly 11% of the sample showing a marked decrease in symptom severity. During the preschool years, there appears to be only a small amount of "yoking" of developmental trajectories in autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning. It is imperative that a flexible suite of interventions that target both autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning should be implemented and tailored to each child's strengths and difficulties.
    JAMA Psychiatry 01/2015; 72(3). DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2463 · 12.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differences in how developmental pathways interact dynamically in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) likely contribute in important ways to phenotypic heterogeneity. This study aimed to model longitudinal reciprocal associations between social competence (SOC) and language (LANG) pathways in young children with ASD. Data were obtained from 365 participants aged 2–4 years who had recently been diagnosed with an ASD and who were followed over three time points: baseline (time of diagnosis), 6- and 12 months later. Using structural equation modeling, a cross-lagged reciprocal effects model was developed that incorporated auto-regressive (stability) paths for SOC (using the Socialization subscale of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-2) and LANG (using the Preschool Language Scale-4 Auditory Comprehension subscale). Cross-domain associations included within-time correlations and lagged associations. SOC and LANG were highly stable over 12 months. Small reciprocal cross-lagged associations were found across most time points and within-time correlations decreased over time. There were no differences in strength of cross-lagged associations between SOC-LANG and LANG-SOC across time points. Few differences were found between subgroups of children with ASD with and without cognitive impairment. Longitudinal reciprocal cross-domain associations between social competence and language were small in this sample of young children with ASD. Instead, a pattern emerged to suggest that the two domains were strongly associated around time of diagnosis in preschoolers with ASD, and then appeared to become more independent over the ensuing 12 months.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 11/2014; 56(8). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12356 · 5.67 Impact Factor
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    Irene Vitoroulis · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: Research on the prevalence of peer victimization across ethnicities indicates that no one group is consistently at higher risk. In the present two meta-analyses representing 692,548 children and adolescents (age 6-18 years), we examined ethnic group differences in peer victimization at school by including studies with (a) ethnic majority-minority group comparisons (k = 24), and (b) White and Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Aboriginal comparisons (k = 81). Methodological moderating effects (measure type, definition of bullying, publication type and year, age, and country) were examined in both analyses. Using Cohen's d, results indicated a null effect size for the ethnic majority-minority group comparison. Moderator analyses indicated that ethnic majority youth experienced more peer victimization than ethnic minorities in the US (d = .23). The analysis on multiple group comparisons between White and Black (d = .02), Hispanic (d = .08), Asian (d = .05), Aboriginal (d = -.02) and Biracial (d = -.05) groups indicated small effect sizes. Overall, results from the main and moderator analyses yielded small effects of ethnicity, suggesting that ethnicity assessed as a demographic variable is not an adequate indicator for addressing ethnic group differences in peer victimization. Although few notable differences were found between White and non-White groups regarding rates of peer victimization, certain societal and methodological limitations in the assessment of peer victimization may underestimate differences between ethnicities. Aggr. Behav. 9999:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Aggressive Behavior 11/2014; 41(2). DOI:10.1002/AB.21564 · 2.27 Impact Factor
  • Marielle Asseraf · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: The temporal relation between two types of perfectionism - self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) - and depressive symptoms was examined in a sample of 653 children (286 girls, 367 boys) across Grades 6 (depressive symptoms only), 7, and 8. A vulnerability model, in which perfectionism affects depressive symptoms, was compared to a scar model, in which depressive symptoms affects perfectionism, and to a reciprocal-causality model, in which both constructs concurrently affect each other across time. Cross-lagged paths analyses using structural equation modeling supported a scar model where increases in depressive symptoms lead to increases in SPP, but not SOP. The findings applied to both boys and girls. Results suggest that in childhood, depressive symptoms increase the perception that others are expecting excessively high standards of oneself and the need to satisfy this perception.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 10/2014; 43(5). DOI:10.1007/s10802-014-9947-9 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    John D Haltigan · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: The joint development of trajectories of bullying perpetration and peer victimization from Grade 5 to Grade 8 and concurrent and predictive associations with parent- and child-reported symptoms of psychopathology (anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and somatization) were examined in a large sample (N = 695) of Canadian children. Dual trajectory modeling revealed four distinct subgroups of children: (a) those low in both bullying perpetration and peer victimization (low/limited involvement); (b) those with moderately increasing levels of involvement in bullying perpetration and low levels of victimization (bullies); (c) those with low levels of bullying perpetration and moderate/decreasing levels of peer victimization (initial/declining victims); and (d) a victim-to-bully group characterized by increasing bullying perpetration and moderate decreasing victimization. Conditional probability results suggest that a pathway from peer victimization to involvement in bullying is more likely than a pathway from bullying perpetration to peer victimization. Children classified in the victim-to-bully and initial/declining victim groups showed more pervasive elevations in parent- and child-reported symptoms of psychopathology across elementary and middle school and in Grade 9 than individuals with limited involvement in bullying or peer victimization. Most associations with Grade 9 parent- and child-reported symptoms of psychopathology remained even after controlling for initial symptoms of psychopathology. Results are discussed in the context of extant taxonomies of involvement in bullying, the temporal relationship between bullying and victimization, and the increased mental health risk associated with both pure victims and bully-victims. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Developmental Psychology 10/2014; 50(11). DOI:10.1037/a0038030 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: School-level school climate was examined in relation to self-reported peer victimization and teacher-rated academic achievement (grade point average; GPA). Participants included a sample of 1,023 fifth-grade children nested within 50 schools. Associations between peer victimization, school climate, and GPA were examined using multilevel modeling, with school climate as a contextual variable. Boys and girls reported no differences in victimization by their peers, although boys had lower GPAs than girls. Peer victimization was related to lower GPA and to a poorer perception of school climate (individual-level), which was also associated with lower GPA. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that peer victimization was again negatively associated with GPA, and that lower school-level climate was associated with lower GPA. Although no moderating effects of school-level school climate or sex were observed, the relation between peer victimization and GPA remained significant after taking into account (a) school-level climate scores, (b) individual variability in school-climate scores, and (c) several covariates-ethnicity, absenteeism, household income, parental education, percentage of minority students, type of school, and bullying perpetration. These findings underscore the importance of a positive school climate for academic success and viewing school climate as a fundamental collective school outcome. Results also speak to the importance of viewing peer victimization as being harmfully linked to students' academic performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    School Psychology Quarterly 09/2014; 29(3):360-377. DOI:10.1037/spq0000084 · 1.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis was used to study the anti-cyberbullying program preferences of 1,004 university students. More than 60% reported involvement in cyberbullying as witnesses (45.7%), victims (5.7%), perpetrator–victims (4.9%), or perpetrators (4.5%). Men were more likely to report involvement as perpetrators and perpetrator–victims than were women. Students recommended advertisements featuring famous people who emphasized the impact of cyberbullying on victims. They preferred a comprehensive approach teaching skills to prevent cyberbullying, encouraging students to report incidents, enabling anonymous online reporting, and terminating the internet privileges of students involved as perpetrators. Those who cyberbully were least likely, and victims of cyberbullying were most likely, to support an approach combining prevention and consequences. Simulations introducing mandatory reporting, suspensions, or police charges predicted a substantial reduction in the support of uninvolved students, witnesses, victims, and perpetrators. Aggr. Behav. 9999:XX–XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Aggressive Behavior 09/2014; DOI:10.1002/ab.21560 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    Steven Arnocky · Tracy Vaillancourt
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the unique challenges faced by male victims of intimate partner violence. We explored sex differences in perception of male versus female victims, as well as in one’s willingness to identify as a victim, to minimize or conceal victimization, and to seek help for perceived victimization in a sample of 166 (89 female, 77 male) undergraduates. Results indicated that participants held more negative attitudes toward male versus female victims. Males were less likely than females to consider hypothetical aggressive acts perpetrated against them as abusive. When asked to think about how they would respond if they felt “abused” by their partner, male participants reported being more likely to minimize and less likely to disclose and seek help compared to females. Results are discussed in terms of the social emphasis on male dominance and highlight the need to consider the unique challenges faced by male victims.
    Journal of Aggression Maltreatment & Trauma 08/2014; 23(7):705 - 724. DOI:10.1080/10926771.2014.933465
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental cascade models linking childhood physical and relational aggression with symptoms of depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; assessed at ages 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14) to borderline personality disorder (BPD) features (assessed at age 14) were examined in a community sample of 484 youth. Results indicated that, when controlling for within-time covariance and across-time stability in the examination of cross-lagged relations among study variables, BPD features at age 14 were predicted by childhood relational aggression and symptoms of depression for boys, and physical and relational aggression, symptoms of depression, and symptoms of ADHD for girls. Moreover, for boys BPD features were predicted from age 10 ADHD through age 12 depression, whereas for girls the pathway to elevated BPD features at age 14 was from depression at age 10 through physical aggression symptoms at age 12. Controlling for earlier associations among variables, we found that for girls the strongest predictor of BPD features at age 14 was physical aggression, whereas for boys all the risk indicators shared a similar predictive impact. This study adds to the growing literature showing that physical and relational aggression ought to be considered when examining early precursors of BPD features.
    Development and Psychopathology 08/2014; 26(03):817-830. DOI:10.1017/S0954579414000418 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed sensory processing differences between 24-month infants at high-risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), each with an older sibling with ASD, and low-risk infants with no family history of ASD. Sensory processing differences were assessed using the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile, a parent-reported measure. Groups were compared based on 3-year outcomes: (a) high-risk infants subsequently diagnosed with ASD; (b) high-risk infants without an ASD diagnosis; and (c) low-risk infants without an ASD diagnosis. Analyses showed that high-risk infants diagnosed with ASD have more difficulty with auditory processing (i.e., responses to auditory stimuli) and lower registration (i.e., lacking sensation awareness) compared to controls. Thus, behavioral responses to sensory input represent early risk markers of ASD, particularly in high-risk infants.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2014; 44(12). DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2175-x · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The latent class structure of autism symptoms from the time of diagnosis to age 6 years was examined in a sample of 280 children with autism spectrum disorder. Factor mixture modeling was performed on 26 algorithm items from the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised at diagnosis (Time 1) and again at age 6 (Time 2). At Time 1, a "2-factor/3-class" model provided the best fit to the data. At Time 2, a "2-factor/2-class" model provided the best fit to the data. Longitudinal (repeated measures) analysis of variance showed that the "2-factor/3-class" model derived at the time of diagnosis allows for the identification of a subgroup of children (9 % of sample) who exhibit notable reduction in symptom severity.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2014; 44(12). DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2167-x · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Cultural and Contextual Perspectives on Developmental Risk and Well-being, Edited by J A Burack, L A Schmidt, 05/2014: chapter 6: pages 107 - 126; Cambridge University Press., ISBN: 978-1-10700-885-4

Publication Stats

2k Citations
231.16 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Simon Fraser University
      • Faculty of Health Sciences
      Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2009–2015
    • University of Ottawa
      • • School of Psychology
      • • Faculty of Education
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2003–2013
    • McMaster University
      • • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
      • • Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 2007
    • Université de Montréal
      • School of Psycho-Education
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada