[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and objectives:
Sleep problems are frequent in young children; however, children vary in the degree to which they are affected by poor sleep quality. We investigated whether a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene, which is linked to emotional function, is a potential moderator of the influences of sleep duration on infant temperament using longitudinal data.
We examined the interactive effects of average sleep duration between 6 and 36 months of age and the 5-HTTLPR genotype on negative emotionality/behavioral dysregulation at 36 months in 209 children recruited into a longitudinal birth cohort study. Triallelic genotyping of 5-HTTLPR was performed by looking at SLC6A4 genotype, focusing on the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) including the SNP polymorphism (rs23351). Child sleep habits were assessed with a maternal self-report questionnaire.
After controlling for demographics and both previous and concurrent maternal depression, multiple linear regression analyses revealed a significant interaction effect of average sleep duration for the first 3 years of life and 5-HTTLPR genotype on child negative emotionality/behavioral dysregulation such that the effects were exclusive to those with low-expressing 5-HTTLPR genotypes.
The results suggest differential susceptibility to the effect of sleep duration early in life, which reiterates that the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR represents a marker of increased environmental sensitivity regarding emotional development. Differential susceptibility theory posits that certain factors may increase an individual's susceptibility to the environment, in either a positive or negative fashion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence to suggest that social skills, such as the ability to understand the perspective of others (theory of mind), may be affected by childhood traumatic brain injuries; however, studies to date have only considered moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study aimed to assess theory of mind after early, mild TBI (mTBI). Fifty-one children who sustained mTBI between 18 and 60 months were evaluated 6 months post-injury on emotion and desires reasoning and false-belief understanding tasks. Their results were compared to that of 50 typically developing children. The two groups did not differ on baseline characteristics, except for pre- and post-injury externalizing behavior. The mTBI group obtained poorer scores relative to controls on both the emotion and desires task and the false-belief understanding task, even after controlling for pre-injury externalizing behavior. No correlations were found between TBI injury characteristics and theory of mind. This is the first evidence that mTBI in preschool children is associated with theory of mind difficulties. Reduced perspective taking abilities could be linked with the social impairments that have been shown to arise following TBI. (
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 08/2015; 21:1-11. DOI:10.1017/S1355617715000569 · 2.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In light of emerging evidence suggesting that the affective quality of parent-child relationships may relate to individual differences in young children's executive functioning (EF) skills, the aim of this study was to investigate the prospective associations between attachment security in toddlerhood and children's EF skills in kindergarten. Mother-child dyads (N = 105) participated in 2 toddlerhood visits in their homes, when children were 15 months and 2 years of age. Mother-child attachment security was assessed with the Attachment Q-Sort during both these visits. When children were in kindergarten (ages 5-6), they were administered a battery of EF tasks, and their teachers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function to assess children's EF problems. The results indicated that kindergarteners who were more securely attached to their mothers in toddlerhood showed better performance on all EF tasks, and were considered by their teachers to present fewer EF problems in everyday school situations. These results held above family socioeconomic status (SES) and child age, sex, and general cognitive functioning. The fact that early attachment security uniquely predicted both teacher reports and children's objective EF task performance suggests that parent-child attachment may be a promising factor to consider in the continuing search for the social antecedents of young children's EF. (PsycINFO Database Record
(c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current study examined associations among actigraphy, maternal sleep diaries, and the parent-completed child behavior checklist (CBCL) sleep items. These items are often used as a sleep measure despite their unclear validity with young children. Eighty middle class families (39 girls) drawn from a community sample participated. Children (M = 25.34 months, SD = 1.04) wore an actigraph monitor (Mini-Mitter(®) Actiwatch Actigraph, Respironics) for a 72-h period, and mothers completed a sleep diary during the same period. Eighty-nine percent of the mothers and 75% of the fathers also filled out the CBCL (1.5-5). Mother and father CBCL scores were highly correlated. Overall, good correspondence was found between the CBCL filled out by mothers and sleep efficiency and duration derived from maternal sleep diaries (r between -0.39 and -0.25, p ≤ 0.05). Good correspondence was also found between the CBCL filled out by fathers and sleep efficiency as derived from maternal sleep diaries (r between -0.39 and -0.24, p ≤ 0.05), but not with sleep duration (all results were non-significant). Very few correlations between actigraphy and the CLBL scores reached statistical significance. The Bland and Altman method revealed that sleep diaries and actigraphy showed poor agreement with one another when assessing sleep duration and sleep efficiency. However, diary- and actigraphy-derived sleep durations were significantly correlated. Consistent with findings among older groups of children, this study suggests that the CBCL sleep items, sleep diaries, and actigraphy tap into quite different aspects of sleep among toddlers. The choice of which measures to use should be based on the exact aspects of sleep that one aims to assess. Overall, despite its frequent use, the composite sleep score of the CBCL shows poor links to objective measures of sleep duration and sleep efficiency.
Frontiers in Psychiatry 11/2014; 5:158. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00158
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A growing body of theoretical and empirical work has been attempting to answer the questions of how and how much of the effects of children’s early experience may depend on their inner characteristics. Theory and evidence suggest that some children, notably those with difficult temperaments, are more susceptible to both negative and positive aspects of parenting. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether child temperament moderated the links between the quality of mother-infant interactions, observed when children were 1 year of age, and two components of child executive functioning (EF) at 3 years, namely impulse control and conflict EF, among 74 mother–child dyads. The results were consistent with the notion that children with more difficult temperaments may be more susceptible to maternal behaviors than children with less difficult temperaments, but only regarding the development of impulse control abilities. There was no clear evidence of such moderation for conflict EF. These results support the idea that distinct mechanisms may underlie the development of different dimensions of child EF.
International Journal of Behavioral Development 11/2014; DOI:10.1177/0165025414557370 · 1.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the moderating role of infant sleep in the connections between maternal sensitivity and three indicators of infant functioning: attachment security, theory of mind, and executive functioning (EF). Maternal sensitivity was assessed when infants (27 girls and 36 boys) were 1 year of age. Infant sleep was assessed with actigraphy at age 2; attachment security, theory of mind, and EF were also assessed at age 2. Results indicated that maternal sensitivity was positively related to attachment security only among infants who got more sleep at night, and to conflict-EF and theory of mind only for infants who got greater proportions of their sleep during the night. These results suggest that sleep may enhance the benefits of maternal sensitivity for some aspects of infants’ functioning, providing further support for the importance of sleep maturation as a salient developmental task of infancy.
Infant Behavior and Development 11/2014; 37(4):682–694. DOI:10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.08.011 · 1.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Family socioeconomic status (SES) and the quality of maternal behavior are among the few identified predictors of child executive functioning (EF), and they have often been found to have interactive rather than additive effects on other domains of child functioning. The purpose of this study was to explore their interactive effects in the prediction of child EF. We assessed maternal behavior at 1 year and two dimensions of child EF (Conflict EF and Impulse Control) at 3 years with 114 mother–child dyads. The analyses revealed that better child performance on Conflict EF was significantly related to higher-quality maternal behavior and to higher SES, but no interactions were found. In contrast, significant interactions were found with Impulse Control such that higher-quality maternal behavior was predictive of better performance only among children from lower-SES families. These results support the idea that distinct mechanisms may underlie the development of different dimensions of child EF.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Les enfants victimes d’une agression sexuelle présentent fréquemment des difficultés d’adaptation après
le dévoilement, autant des problèmes intériorisés qu’extériorisés (Rakow, Smith, Begle & Ayer, 2011;
Trask, Walsh & DiLillo, 2011). Certaines études démontrent également que les variables parentales sont
susceptibles de jouer un rôle important dans l’apparition de difficultés chez l’enfant (Kouyoumdjian,
Perry & Hansen, 2009). Le sentiment de compétence du parent non agresseur ainsi que la qualité du lien
d’attachement qui caractérise la relation qu’entretient l’enfant avec son parent ont été peu explorés pour
expliquer l’adaptation des enfants victimes après leur agression. L’objectif de la présente étude est
d’examiner le lien entre le sentiment de compétence parentale, la qualité de l’attachement de l’enfant et
la présence de problèmes intériorisés et extériorisés chez 96 enfants victimes d’agressions sexuelles d’âge
préscolaire. Les analyses indiquent que la qualité de l’attachement, telle qu’évaluée par le Tri-de-cartes
rempli par la mère, contribue a` prédire la présence de problèmes de comportement. Ainsi, plus un enfant
victime aura développé un attachement sécurisant envers son parent, moins l’enfant présentera des
problèmes intériorisés et extériorisés. Les résultats démontrent également que le sentiment de compétence
parentale, c’est-a`-dire sa perception de l’aide et du soutien qu’il peut offrir a` son enfant, ne
contribue pas a` l’adaptation de l’enfant victime d’une agression sexuelle, sauf dans le cas des troubles
extériorisés. Nos résultats nous amènent a` souligner l’importance des interventions qui ont pour objectif
d’améliorer la relation parent-enfant et de favoriser la sensibilité maternelle dans les familles touchées
par une agression sexuelle.
Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 10/2014; 47(1). DOI:10.1037/a0037592 · 0.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research in developmental psychology is increasingly showing that children’s biology, cognition, and social relationships, which have often been studied separately, are in fact closely tied and influence each other in complex ways. This article summarizes work by our team and others on the connections among young children’s sleep, their executive functioning, and the quality of their caregiving relationships. Overall, children exposed to higher-quality parenting perform better on executive tasks and get sleep of higher quality or duration. In turn, sleep relates to subsequent executive performance, while also modulating the links between parenting and child outcomes. We propose directions for future research to address causal relations and to better pinpoint the direction and magnitude of the associations between these areas of child development.
Current Directions in Psychological Science 08/2014; 23(4):284-289. DOI:10.1177/0963721414534852 · 3.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes a video-feedback intervention program with maltreating parents and their children aged 1 to 5 years using a case-study approach. The 8-week program is of interest to researchers and clinicians because it is the first short-term attachment-based intervention program to demonstrate efficacy in enhancing parental sensitivity, improving child attachment security, and reducing disorganized attachment for children and parents who have been reported for child abuse and/or neglect. We have previously described the theoretical and empirical basis of the intervention program and evidence for its efficacy. Details of program implementation and a case study are currently presented.
Attachment & Human Development 08/2014; 16(4):329-42. DOI:10.1080/14616734.2014.912486 · 2.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to assess disorganized states of mind in a sample of neglecting and at-risk of neglecting mothers using the recently developed Hostile-Helpless (HH) coding system (Lyons-Ruth et al., 2006) for the Adult Attachment Interview (Main & Goldwyn, 1998). The relation between HH states of mind and mothers’ childhood traumas was also examined. Participants were 70 neglecting mothers and at-risk of neglecting mothers. Childhood traumas were assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. HH states of mind were coded from Adult Attachment Interview transcripts by two reliable coders. Results revealed a high prevalence of disorganized states of mind in this sample. Forty-five mothers were classified HH, representing 64% of the entire sample. Most mothers reported at least one form of childhood trauma, with a mean of 2.9 different forms of trauma. Mothers classified HH reported having been emotionally abused, sexually abused and physically neglected more frequently than non-HH mothers. There was no difference between neglecting and at-risk of neglect mothers on HH states of mind and childhood experiences of trauma. These findings are in line with theorization on maltreating mothers’ psychological background and they provide further empirical support to the validation of the HH classification system with at-risk populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT There is compelling evidence that the quality of maternal and paternal parenting behavior bears critical importance for child development. Yet, less is known of the degree of similarity between maternal and paternal parenting behavior in families, and especially little is known about the factors that may explain variation in degrees of similarity. This article aims to examine (a) the concordance (similarity) between the quality of mothers' and fathers' interactive behavior with their child and (b) the sociodemographic determinants of this concordance. The sample included 74 families (mother, father, and their child). The quality of maternal and paternal interactive behavior was assessed independently, and rated with the Maternal Behavior Q-Sort (mother-infant, 12 months; D. R. Pederson et al., 1990) or the Mutually Responsive Orientation scale (father-toddler, 18 months; N. Aksan et al., 2006). The results indicated that the overall correlation between the quality of mothers' and fathers' behavior was moderate. The concordance was greater among higher socioeconomic status families or when interacting with a boy, but did not differ according to the presence or absence of siblings in the family.
The Journal of Genetic Psychology 07/2014; 175(4):346-362. DOI:10.1080/00221325.2014.926264 · 0.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is a follow-up to a previous study that examined two aspects of mother-child relationships-mothers' mind-mindedness and infant attachment security-in relation to toddlers' early manifestations of theory of mind understanding at 2years of age. The current study aimed to assess the same two aspects of mother-child relationships in relation to children's (N=59) theory of mind performance at 4years of age. Results of the current study confirmed and expanded on relations observed at 2years. Mothers' use of appropriate mind-related comments specifically during toy-based free play at 12months of age predicted preschoolers' understanding of false belief and Level 2 visual perspective taking over and above earlier perspective-taking abilities. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring Level 2 visual perspective taking. The similarity of results across the two time points suggests the reliability of associations among mothers' use of mind-related comments during toy-based play, boys' attachment security, and children's subsequent social understanding. The current results also suggest that maternal mind-mindedness may be most relevant to children's social cognition when assessed in toy-based play contexts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors aimed to investigate the prospective links between normative variation in fathers' marital satisfaction and the observed quality of father-toddler interactions, as well as the moderating role of child gender in these associations. Sixty-three fathers reported on their marital satisfaction when their children were 15 months of age, and were observed interacting with their child at 18 months. The results suggested that marital satisfaction was positively associated with the quality of father-son interactions, while no relations emerged among fathers of girls. These findings reiterate the importance of marital relationships for the quality of fathers' parenting, while reaffirming previous suggestions that the role of child gender in the marriage-parenting connections requires further investigation.
The Journal of Genetic Psychology 03/2014; 175(1-2):105-17. DOI:10.1080/00221325.2013.799059 · 0.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report aimed to investigate the capacity of maternal behaviors tailored to children's attachment and exploration systems to jointly explain the well-known mother–child transmission of attachment. Four home visits were conducted between ages 7 months and 2 years with 130 mother–child dyads to assess maternal attachment state of mind, sensitivity, autonomy support, and mother–child attachment security. Results showed that together, maternal sensitivity and autonomy support fully accounted for the relation between maternal and child attachment, that they each accounted for a unique portion of this relation, and that the magnitude of these mediated pathways was equivalent. These results suggest that the attachment transmission gap can be narrowed by the use of a theory-driven multidimensional approach to maternal behavior.
Child Development 03/2014; 85(5). DOI:10.1111/cdev.12236 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is a follow-up to a previous study that examined two aspects of mother–child relationships—mothers’ mind-mindedness and infant attachment security—in relation to toddlers’ early manifestations of theory of mind understanding at 2 years of age. The current study aimed to assess the same two aspects of mother–child relationships in relation to children’s (N = 59) theory of mind performance at 4 years of age. Results of the current study confirmed and expanded on relations observed at 2 years. Mothers’ use of appropriate mind-related comments specifically during toy-based free play at 12 months of age predicted preschoolers’ understanding of false belief and Level 2 visual perspective taking over and above earlier perspective-taking abilities. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring Level 2 visual perspective taking. The similarity of results across the two time points suggests the reliability of associations among mothers’ use of mind-related comments during toy-based play, boys’ attachment security, and children’s subsequent social understanding. The current results also suggest that maternal mind-mindedness may be most relevant to children’s social cognition when assessed in toy-based play contexts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goals of this article were to examine (1) the relative and absolute stability of maternal autonomy support between infancy and preschool age, and (2) the moderating role of child gender, maternal attachment state of mind, and stressful life events. Sixty‐nine mother–child dyads participated in five visits when the child was 8, 15, and 18 months, as well as 2 and 3 years. The results suggested that maternal autonomy support is stable in relative terms, but that its mean level decreases over time. Moreover, there was significant relative stability only for mothers of girls, mothers who showed greater coherence of mind with respect to attachment, and mothers who experienced fewer stressful life events. These results speak to the relevance of investigating parent, child, and contextual factors when examining the conditions that promote or hinder stability in parenting behaviors.
Review of Social Development 08/2013; 22(3). DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2012.00667.x · 1.56 Impact Factor