During adolescence, as dependent children are growing into autonomous adults, difficult policy decisions have to be made about children's rights. Should children (minors) have the right to make important decisions without parental consent or knowledge? Part of the answer is fundamentally tied to developmental issues: At what age are adolescents competent enough or autonomous enough to make their own decisions? This paper selectively reviews the literature on the development of adolescent autonomy and explores its implications for family planning policy—in particular, for minors' rights to contraceptive and abortion services.
Participants were 664 relatively low achieving children who were recruited into a longitudinal study when in first grade. Measures of peer academic reputation (PAR), peer acceptance, teacher-rated academic engagement and achievement, and reading and math achievement were obtained in Year 2, when the majority of students were in second grade, and 1 year later. Measures of academic self concept were obtained in Year 1 and in Year 3. As young as second grade, children's perceptions of classmates' academic competence are distinct from their perceptions of peers' other social and behavioral characteristics. SEM analyses found that Year 2 PAR predicted Year 3 teacher-rated academic engagement and reading (but not math) achievement test scores, above the effects of prior scores on these outcomes and other covariates. Furthermore, the effect of PAR on academic engagement and achievement was partially mediated by the effect of PAR on children's academic self concept. Implications of these findings for educational practice and future research are discussed.
This study gathered follow-up data from the Terman Life Cycle Study (N = 1,023) to examine how age at first reading and age at school entry relate to grade school academic performance, lifelong educational attainment, midlife health and mental adjustment, and longevity across eight decades. Early reading was associated with early academic success, but less lifelong educational attainment and worse midlife adjustment. Early school entry was associated with less educational attainment, worse midlife adjustment, and most importantly, increased mortality risk. Personality, midlife adjustment, and educational attainment partially mediated the school entry-longevity association (controlling for age, sex, personal characteristics, and home environment factors). Although the sample is limited in some respects and care should be taken in generalizing the results, findings do confirm the importance of lifespan approaches in understanding the effects of education on individual patterns within social contexts.
The longitudinal relationships between two dimensions of peer relationships and subsequent academic adjustment were investigated in a sample of 543 relatively low achieving children (M = 6.57 years at Year 1, 1(st) grade). Latent variable SEM was used to test a four stage model positing indirect effects of peer acceptance and peer academic reputation (PAR) assessed in Year 2 on academic achievement in Year 5, via the effects of the peer relationships variables on perceived academic competence in Year 3 and effortful engagement in Year 4. As expected, the effect of PAR on engagement was partially mediated by perceived academic competence, and the effect of perceived academic competence on achievement was partially mediated by engagement. In the context of PAR, peer acceptance did not contribute to the mediating variables or to achievement. Findings provide a clearer understanding of the processes by which early peer-relationships influence concurrent and future school-related outcomes. Implications for educational practice and future research are discussed.
This study investigated the reciprocal effects between teacher student relationship quality (TSRQ) and two dimensions of classroom peer relatedness, peer liking and peer academic reputation (PAR), across three years in elementary school and the effect of both TSRQ and the peer relatedness dimensions on academic self efficacy. Participants were 695 relatively low achieving, ethnically diverse students recruited into the longitudinal study when they were in first grade. Measures of TSRQ and peer relatedness were assessed in years/grades 2-4. Peer liking and PAR were moderately correlated with each other at each time period. As expected, peer liking and TSRQ exhibited bidirectional effects across the three years. Year 3 TSRQ had an effect on Year 4 PAR, but PAR did not have an effect on TSRQ at either time interval. In an additional analysis, Year 4 PAR mediated the effect of Year 3 TSRQ on Year 5 academic self efficacy. Implications for teacher professional development are discussed.
Child care studies that have examined links between teachers' qualifications and children's outcomes often ignore teachers' and children's transitions between classrooms at a center throughout the day and only take into account head teacher qualifications. The objective of this investigation was to examine these traditional assumptions and to compare inferences made from these traditional models to methods accounting for transitions between classrooms and multiple teachers in a classroom. The study examined the receptive language, letter-word identification, and passage comprehension skills of 307 children enrolled in 49 community-based childcare centers serving primarily low-income families in Colorado. Results suggest that nearly one-third of children and over 80% of teachers moved daily between classrooms. Findings also reveal that failure to account for daily transitions between classrooms can affect interpretations of the relationship between teacher qualifications and child outcomes, with the model accounting for movement providing significant improvements in model fit and inference.
Three studies investigated the influence of verbal descriptions concerning the performance of others on children's ability conceptions among 177 elementary school children ranging in age from 8 to 12 years. Study 1 showed that when high-performing characters were described with labels such as "math whiz," children tended to view the character's ability as more innate, and less susceptible to being altered by a change in effort. Study 2 showed that a reference to a successful character's previous struggles led participants to conceive of ability as more malleable, and to express more optimism about their own prospects for academic success. Study 3 provided further evidence that hearing descriptions of change in performance over time can influence children's reasoning. These results suggest that when individuals frequently make use of ability-related labels or describe people as maintaining stable patterns of performance over periods of time, they may implicitly convey maladaptive conceptions of ability to children.
Existing studies of child care have not been able to determine whether higher quality child care protects children from the effects of poverty, whether poverty and lower quality child care operate as dual risk factors, or whether both are true. The objective of the current study was to test two pathways through which child care may serve as a naturally occurring intervention for low-income children: a direct pathway through child care quality to child outcomes, and an indirect pathway through improvements in the home environment. Children were observed in their homes and child care settings at 6, 15, 24, and 36 months. An interaction between family income-to-needs ratio and child care quality predicted School Readiness, Receptive Language, and Expressive Language, as well as improvements in the home environment. Children from low-income families profited from observed learning supports in the form of sensitive care and stimulation of cognitive development, and their parents profited from unobserved informal and formal parent supports. Policy implications are discussed.
Parent cultural adaptation and preschool behavioral and socioemotional functioning were examined in a community sample of urban families from diverse cultural backgrounds. Participants were 130 families of children (mean age = 4.1 years) attending eight public Pre-Kindergarten programs in urban communities. Parents completed a measure of cultural adaptation that taps into acculturation and enculturation, and teachers reported on children's externalizing problems, internalizing problems and adaptive behavior in the classroom. Parents' ethnic identity was a significant predictor of children's functioning. The retention of parents' culture of origin and specific aspects of acculturation are related to positive outcomes in a sample of culturally diverse families of preschoolers living in urban communities. Bicultural parents (those with high ethnic and US American identity) had children with lower levels of internalizing problems and higher levels of adaptive behavior relative to parents who were not bicultural. Implications for enhancing positive child outcomes through the promotion of parental ethnic identity are discussed.
Homeless children show significant developmental delays across major domains of adaptation, yet research on protective processes that may contribute to resilient adaptation in this highly disadvantaged group of children is extremely rare. This study examined the role of effortful control for adaption in 58 homeless children, ages 5-6, during their transition to school. Effortful control skills were assessed using children's performance on four standard executive functioning tasks. Adaptive functioning was assessed by teacher report of academic competence, peer competence, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Variable-focused and person-focused results indicate that effortful control may be an important marker of school readiness and resilience. Controlling for child IQ, parenting quality, and socio-demographic risks, effortful control emerged as the most significant predictor of all four salient developmental domains of adaptation as well as of resilient status of homeless children. Implications of these findings are discussed for future research and design of interventions.
This longitudinal study utilized a community sample of children (N=91, 45% female, 8-11 years at time 1) to investigate physiological responses (heart rate reactivity [HRR] and electrodermal responding [EDR]) during delay of gratification in relation to emotionality, self-regulation, and adjustment problems. Cluster analyses identified three profiles among children who successfully delayed: children who waited easily with low EDR and moderate HRR, children who had difficulty waiting with high EDR and moderate HRR, and children who had difficulty waiting with low EDR and low HRR. The 3 clusters and children who did not wait were compared. Children with low EDR-low HRR had the lowest self-regulation, and like the no-wait group, demonstrated the greatest baseline adjustment problems. The high EDR-moderate HRR group demonstrated highest self-regulation and increases in depression across one year. Distinct profiles among children in delay contexts point to children who are over- and under-regulated with implications for adjustment problems.
Although proposed by bioecological models, there has been minimal empirical examination of whether children's individual differences moderate neighborhood effects on development. We used an urban community sample (8-12 years, N = 316) to examine interactions among neighborhood characteristics (problems and social organization) and children's temperament (fear, irritability and impulsivity) in predicting psychosocial adjustment. The main effects of neighborhood and temperament on outcomes were consistent with previous research. Findings show that development is challenging in disadvantaged neighborhoods whatever one's temperament, however, some effects of neighborhood were conditioned by temperament, particularly children's fear and irritability. Neighborhood problems were more strongly related to lower social competence for fearful and for less irritable children. Neighborhood problems were more strongly related to higher internalizing problems for low-fear children. Neighborhood social organization was more strongly related to greater social competence for low-fear children. Findings are discussed in relation to "diathesis-stress" and "differential responsiveness" models of temperament.
This study examined relations among emotional self-regulation, peer rejection, and antisocial behavior in a sample of 122 boys from low-income families who participated in a summer camp and were followed longitudinally from early childhood to early adolescence. Emotional self- regulation strategies were coded in early childhood from a waiting task, measures of peer rejection were collected during middle childhood at the summer camp, and reports of antisocial behavior were obtained during early adolescence. Structural equation modeling was utilized to examine longitudinal relations among these constructs, with results supporting a negative association between use of active distraction and peer rejection and a positive association between peer rejection and antisocial behavior. Furthermore, an indirect effect of active distraction on antisocial behavior was found through peer rejection. Thus, adaptive self-regulation strategy use in early childhood demonstrated direct longitudinal relations with peer rejection and an indirect association with antisocial behavior in early adolescence. Results have implications for early prevention and intervention efforts to foster adaptive self-regulation of emotion and reduce risk for later social problems and delinquency.
The current study examines the social information processing and coping styles (SIP) of overweight and average weight adolescents, and whether the associations between friendship quality and SIP differ for these two groups (N = 156, M age = 12.79). On the basis of height and weight assessments, overweight (n = 70) and average weight (n = 86) adolescents were identified. Participants reported on positive and conflictual qualities of their friendships, and their attributions, emotional reactions, and coping strategies in response to hypothetical negative peer events. Results revealed that for overweight adolescents, positive friendship quality was negatively associated with emotion-focused coping, and friendship conflict was positively associated with internal blame attributions, but the associations between these variables were not significant for average weight adolescents. Findings suggest that positive friendships may represent protective factors in the lives of overweight adolescents whereas highly conflictual friendships may increase risk.
Longitudinal associations among different types of organized activity involvement, problem peer associations, and cigarette smoking were examined in a sample of 1,040 adolescents (mean age = 15.62 at baseline, 16.89 at 15-month assessment, 17.59 at 24 months) enriched for smoking experimentation (83% had tried smoking). A structural equation model tested longitudinal paths between three categories of involvement (team sports, school clubs and activities, and religious activities, measured at baseline and 15 months), problem peer associations (baseline and 15 months), and cigarette smoking behavior (baseline and 24 months). Multi-group analyses indicated pathways differed by type of activity and adolescent gender. Boys' baseline team sports and religious involvement predicted lower levels of smoking at 24 months via continued activity involvement at 15 months. Girls' involvement in school clubs and activities and religious activities indirectly predicted lower levels of smoking at 24 months via reduced exposure to problem peers at 15 months.
Research on the development of externalizing behaviors during early childhood has focused on child and parenting factors. Fewer studies have investigated effects of aversive features of the micro-level physical environment, such as overcrowding and chaos in the home, and the macro-level environment, such as neighborhood quality. This study extends research on physical environmental factors by examining their association with children's early externalizing behaviors, and exploring how maternal monitoring may serve as a protective factor in such contexts. 120 male toddlers at high risk for developing early externalizing behaviors were followed from ages 2 to 5 years. Direct longitudinal associations were found for micro-level environmental factors beginning at age 2 and for neighborhood risk beginning at age 3. Maternal monitoring served as a protective factor for child externalizing behaviors in the context of neighborhood risk. Implications for prevention research and the development of early externalizing behaviors are discussed.
Picture books are ubiquitous in young children's lives and are assumed to support children's acquisition of information about the world. Given their importance, relatively little research has directly examined children's learning from picture books. We report two studies examining children's acquisition of labels and facts from picture books that vary on two dimensions: iconicity of the pictures and presence of manipulative features (or "pop-ups"). In Study 1, 20-month-old children generalized novel labels less well when taught from a book with manipulative features than from standard picture books without such elements. In Study 2, 30- and 36-month-old children learned fewer facts when taught from a manipulative picture book with drawings than from a standard picture book with realistic images and no manipulative features. The results of the two studies indicate that children's learning from picture books is facilitated by realistic illustrations, but impeded by manipulative features.
Fathers' vocabulary to infants has been linked in the literature to early child language development, however, little is known about the variability in fathers' language behavior. This study considered associations between fathers' work characteristics and fathers' vocabulary among a sample of employed African American fathers of 6-month old infants who were living in low-income rural communities. After controlling for family and individual factors, we found that fathers who worked nonstandard shifts and reported more job flexibility used more diverse vocabulary with their infants.
This study examined relationships between mother-child interactions and children's behaviors in 119 urban African American mothers and their 6 - 7 year old children. Interactions during a cooking task and a follow-up child clean-up task were videotaped. Principal components analyses of behaviors during the cooking task yielded two factors in mothers (Sensitivity and Control), and three in children (Task Involvement, Responsiveness, and Communicative). Children's negativity during a clean up task was coded and mothers were interviewed about their children's problem behaviors. Parenting sensitivity was associated with positive child behaviors and parenting control was associated with negative child behaviors. Maternal education was associated with greater maternal sensitivity and less control. Child gender predicted their task involvement, responsiveness, communicativeness, negativity during clean-up, and behavior problems; maternal control and sensitivity mediated some of these relations. Findings underscore heterogeneity of African American parenting and factors that promote positive parenting and children's behavioral adjustment in early childhood.
Caregiver depression has been described as leading to overreport of child behavior problems. This study examines this "depression-distortion" hypothesis in terms of high-risk families of young adolescents. Questionnaire and diagnostic interview data were collected from mothers, teachers, and fathers, and self-report information was obtained from youth between ages 10 and 14 years. First, convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated for internalizing and externalizing multiagent constructs. Second, the depression-distortion hypothesis was examined, revealing a modest effect of maternal depression, leading to the inflation of reported son externalizing and daughter internalizing problems. The data suggest the need to consider multiple influences on parental perceptions of child behavior and psychopathology in research and clinical settings.
Literature suggests that parent-child attachment and anxiety symptoms are related. One purpose of the present study was to assess whether attachment patterns relate differentially to social anxiety aspects (fear of negative evaluation, social anxiety and distress in new situations, and generalized anxiety and distress). The second purpose was to investigate these links both longitudinally and concurrently in middle childhood. Children in grades 3 and 5 (N = 74) completed measures of secure, ambivalent, and avoidant attachments with mothers and a measure of social anxiety symptoms in grade 5. Longitudinal analyses showed that ambivalent attachment was most consistently related to social anxiety. Concurrent measures of attachment and social anxiety showed that lower attachment security and higher ambivalent attachment were most consistently related to higher social anxiety. Concurrent attachment predicted variance in social anxiety after controlling for earlier attachment. Findings suggest that anxiety interventions might target attachment.
It was hypothesized that the relation between early anxious solitude and subsequent peer relation would be moderated by early relational (maternal sensitivity) and individual factors (child school readiness). Participants were 1,364 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Anxious solitude was assessed by child care providers from 2 to 4.5 years, maternal sensitivity was observed during mother-child interactions from 2 to 4.5 years, school readiness was tested at 3 years, children's interactions with a friend were observed at 4.5 years, and friendship quantity and peer rejection were assessed by first grade teachers. Results indicate that anxious solitary children who had experienced high versus low early maternal sensitivity contributed significantly more actively to positive interaction and less actively to negative interaction with a friend at 4.5 years (these results were contingent on school readiness), and had more friends and were less rejected by peers in first grade. Although high school readiness predicted interactive competency and positive peer relationships in children low in anxious solitude, these benefits were suppressed in anxious solitary children.
The current study examined the association between membership in the sandwich generation, defined as providing care to both children and parents or in-laws, and five health behaviors: checking the food label for health value when buying foods, using a seat belt, choosing foods based on health value, exercising regularly, and cigarette smoking. Participants (N=4943) were from a longitudinal study of a midwestern community-based sample. Regression analyses tested the unique effect of sandwich generation membership on health behaviors above and beyond demographic factors and prior levels of the same behavior. Compared to other caregivers and noncaregivers, multigenerational caregivers were less likely to check food labels and to choose foods based on health values. Multigenerational caregivers were less likely than noncaregivers and those who cared for children only to use seat belts, and they smoked marginally more cigarettes per day than those groups. Multigenerational caregivers were less likely than noncaregivers and those who cared for parents/in-laws only to exercise regularly. Thus, in general, healthy behaviors were diminished for multigenerational caregivers.
We examined whether influence attempts of 4-6 year-old children with mild developmental delays occurring when interacting with their mothers predicted children's interactions with peers two years later. Hierarchical regressions controlling for relevant child characteristics and a measure of direct parental actions to influence their children's peer interactions revealed a consistent association between influence attempts with mothers and four important aspects of children's peer relationships: successful social bids to peers, initiations to peers, extent of involvement with peers, and overall level of peer interactions. Results were consistent with social communicative processes likely to emerge during children's influence attempts with mothers, which are relevant to peer relationships. The fact that influence attempts with mothers were associated with peer interactions over a time period when peers occupy a more dominant role in children's social relationships supports the role of indirect family influences as a potential intervention strategy to further the peer competence of children with delays.
Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care were examined to test whether: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms remain stable from 54 months through early elementary school; behavioral inhibition and attention deficits assessed at 54 months predict ADHD symptoms in elementary school, even after controlling for their temporal stability; and early behavioral inhibition and attention deficits moderate the longitudinal stability in ADHD symptoms. Data were examined using continuous and categorical measures of symptoms. Modest stability in ADHD symptoms from 54 months to third grade was found. Measures of inhibition and inattention predicted later teacher ratings uniquely, but no evidence was found for moderation. Measures of preschool behavioral inhibition also predicted "persistently at risk status" defined by elevated teacher ratings over time. Results are discussed in terms of executive and motivational facets of inhibition that may be related to early signs of ADHD.
This study examined the longitudinal associations between attentional regulation in preschool and children's school success in later elementary school within an at-risk sample (N = 2,595). Specifically, two facets of attention (focused attention and lack of impulsivity) at age 5 were explored as independent predictors of children's achievement and behavioral competence at age 9. Overall, the pattern of results indicates specificity between the facets of attention and school success, such that focused attention was predictive of achievement outcomes while impulsivity was predictive of behavioral outcomes. Both facets of attention predicted teacher ratings of children's approaches to learning, which suggests that they jointly influence skills that span both domains of school success. Poverty status, maternal warmth, and infant temperament did not moderate these associations. Implications of these findings for interventions targeting school readiness and success among at-risk children are discussed.
This report describes a case study of the development of an infant with autism who was observed closely by professionals from birth and to whom a comprehensive psychological evaluation was administered at approximately 1 and 2 years of age. During the first 6 months of life, this infant displayed difficulties in oral motor coordination and muscle tone that fluctuated between hypotonia and hypertonia. He startled easily, had poor state regulation, and was hypersensitive to touch. Notably, however, during the first 6 months, this infant vocalized and responded socially to others by smiling and cooing. During the second half of the first year, he continued to demonstrate diffuse sensorimotor difficulties and diminished oral motor control. Hypersensitivity now extended to a wider range of stimuli. He had problems in sleep regulation. Motor stereotypies, including rocking, head banging, and toe walking, were observed. Difficulties in the domain of social interaction began to emerge during the second 6 months, including poor eye contact, failure to engage in imitative games, and lack of imitative vocal responses. By a little over 1 year of age, this infant met diagnostic criteria for autism based on the Autism Diagnostic Interview. There were several domains in which this toddler with autism did not show impairments. In the areas of immediate memory for actions, working memory, response inhibition, and speech perception, this 1-year old with autism displayed no evidence of significant impairment on the tests administered. This case study offers clues regarding the nature of autism at its earliest stages. Understanding early development in autism will be important for developing early screening and diagnostic tools.
The primary objectives of this investigation were to determine the extent to which young adolescents are stable in high perceived popular status across the middle school transition and to examine whether changes in social behaviors predict the stability, gain, and loss of perceived popular status after the transition. The sample included 672 young adolescents (323 boys) who completed peer-nomination assessments of social behavior and perceived popularity at the end of elementary school (5(th) grade) and the beginning of middle school (6(th) grade). Findings indicated that 62 percent of perceived popular adolescents remained stable in their high popular status across the middle school transition. Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that a combination of aggression and arrogance/conceit was associated with stable and newly-gained perceived popular status after the middle school transition. Taken together, findings highlight the significance of contextual and temporal changes in adolescents' perceived popular status.
Origins of mothers' and fathers' beliefs about infant crying were examined in 87 couples. Parents completed measures of emotion minimization in the family of origin, depressive symptoms, empathy, trait anger, and coping styles prenatally. At 6 months postpartum, parents completed a self-report measure of their beliefs about infant crying. Mothers endorsed more infant-oriented and less parent-oriented beliefs about crying than did fathers. Consistent with prediction, a history of emotion minimization was linked with more parent-oriented and fewer infant-oriented beliefs about infant crying for both mothers and fathers either as a main effect or in conjunction with the partners' infant-oriented beliefs. Contrary to expectation, parents' own emotional dispositions had little effect on parents' beliefs about crying. The pattern of associations varied for mothers and fathers in a number of ways. Implications for future research and programs promoting sensitive parenting are discussed.
This study investigated the contribution of child characteristics and parenting environment to the relationship between family SES/demographic characteristics and maternal language to infants.1157 children were drawn from a representative sample of 1292 infants born to mothers in rural Appalachian counties and rural counties in southern minority U.S. communities. Mothers and their 6-8 month old babies were videotaped at home while talking about a wordless picture book. Mothers' language output and complexity were analyzed. Child temperament, age, and parenting environment (knowledge of child development and observed mother-child engagement) were predictors of maternal language. Furthermore, their inclusion reduced the magnitude of the association between demographic characteristics and maternal language. Tests of mediation suggested that the parenting environment partially mediates the relationship between SES/demographic characteristics and maternal language. Findings are discussed with respect to identifying proximal processes that explain how SES may exert its influence on the language of young children.
The goal of this longitudinal study was to examine variations in school-age child care arrangements across the elementary school years as a function of child, family, and contextual factors. Pre-kindergarten family background measures were collected through parent questionnaires and interviews. Follow-up interviews with 466 parents provided information on children's care experiences in grades 1 through 5. Some care arrangements (e.g., self care) showed considerable continuity, whereas other arrangements (e.g., school programs) changed substantially from year-to-year. Increases in use were found for self-care, sibling care, neighbor care, and activity-based care; use of day care decreased across years. Children living with working and/or single mothers spent more time in non-parent care, as did boys with behavior problems. Time spent in specific care arrangements varied as a function of child sex, behavioral adjustment, ethnicity, family socio-economic status, mothers' employment, and parents' marital status. These findings underscore the importance of developmental and ecological-contextual factors in families' choices of care arrangements.
This study examined the stability of maternal punitive/high-power discipline (PD) and inductive/authoritative discipline (ID) over the second and third years of life and the effect of maternal discipline on quality of mother-child interactions. Data from a longitudinal sample with 179 mother-toddler dyads were analyzed, and selected factors (i.e., child sex, temperament) that might moderate the association between maternal discipline and quality of mother-child interactions were also examined. Maternal discipline, quality of mother-child interactions, and temperamental moderators were measured at 16-18 months (Time 1) and 34-37 months (Time 2). Results showed that the stability of maternal use of discipline strategies over the toddler years was moderate. Lower maternal use of PD, higher maternal use of ID, and higher preference/reliance on ID (relative to PD) were associated with higher quality of mother-child interactions. Moderation effects of child temperament were also found. High ID and PD were associated with low quality of mother-child relationships in non-temperamentally difficult children but not in temperamentally difficult children.
The purpose of this study was to examine developmental change and the influence of shyness on social problem-solving (SPS). At 24, 36, and 48 months, children (N=570) were observed while interacting with an unfamiliar peer during an SPS task and at 24 months, maternal report of shyness was collected. Results showed that across the full sample, children displayed low but stable levels of withdrawn SPS and increasing levels of SPS competence over development. In addition, results showed that 24-month shyness was associated with high-increasing and high-decreasing withdrawn SPS trajectories compared to the low-increasing withdrawn SPS trajectory. Shyness was also associated with the low-increasing compared to the high-increasing SPS competence trajectory. Findings demonstrate the development of SPS competence over early childhood, as well as the influence of early shyness on this developmental course, with some shy children showing improvement in SPS skills and others continuing to show SPS difficulties over time.
This study examines how mothers with and without a history of childhood-onset depression respond to their 3-9 year-old children's emotions. Mother-child dyads included 55 offspring of mothers with a history of childhood-onset depressive disorders and 57 offspring of never-depressed mothers. Mothers with a history of childhood depression were less likely than were control mothers to respond in supportive ways to their children's negative emotions and were more likely to magnify, punish, or neglect their children's negative emotions. Magnification, neglect, and punishment of children's negative emotions were concurrently associated with children's internalizing symptoms, and neglect and punishment were associated with internalizing over a one year follow-up. Maternal neglect of children's negative emotion was positively associated with later internalizing symptoms for children who already had higher internalizing symptoms at the initial assessment. Findings suggest that atypical socialization of emotion may be one mechanism in the development of internalizing disorders.
Using a short-term longitudinal design (6 months), this study examined cumulative contextual risk as a predictor of effortful control (EC) and social competence in a community sample of children (N = 80, ages 33-40 months at time 1). Maternal parenting was examined as a mediator of contextual risk. EC was assessed using laboratory tasks, and parenting was assessed using observational ratings. Time 1 contextual risk was negatively related to time 2 EC after controlling for time 1 EC. Mothers' limit setting and scaffolding predicted higher time 2 EC and accounted for the effect of contextual risk. Time 1 EC, contextual risk, and parenting predicted time 2 social competence, and contextual risk had an indirect effect on social competence through parenting. Results suggest that contextual risk predicts smaller relative increases in EC and that parenting accounts for this effect. Knowledge of the factors that divert or promote effortful control can provide targets for intervention to enhance effortful control abilities and better adjustment.
This article describes oral language and early literacy skills in Spanish and English for a sample of 319 bilingual children in Massachusetts and Maryland (ECS) and a comparison group of 144 monolingual Spanish-speaking children in Puerto Rico (PRC). Children were assessed as they entered and exited pre-kindergarten programs. Data collection included four subtests of the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery and a researcher-developed phonological awareness task. Results show that, on average, children in the ECS sample performed below average in both English and Spanish when compared to monolingual norms and, despite some early literacy and oral language gains during their pre-kindergarten year, continue to lag behind monolingual children of the same age. Children in the ECS sample performed better in the early literacy tasks than in the oral language tasks in both English and Spanish. On average, the PRC sample scored significantly better than the ECS sample in Spanish oral language skills, but lower in phonological awareness skills. Educational implications and directions for future research are discussed.
This longitudinal study examined the social interactions of children with mild developmental (cognitive) delays with friends across the early childhood and early elementary years. Results revealed increases in many forms of social exchange with effect sizes in the moderate range, but no changes in sustained interactive play. Social interaction patterns, difficulties in identifying friends to participate in the study, and concerns evident in children's peer and friendship networks suggest the general absence of reciprocal friendships. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that children's limited peer-related social competence constrains all aspects of their development of friendships. Despite these problems, the potential benefits of interventions designed to support relationships at this stage of friendship development for children with delays were noted.
This study explored the possibility that specific, theoretically consistent profiles of reactivity could be identified in a sample of cocaine-exposed infants and whether these profiles were associated with a range of infant and/or maternal characteristics. Cluster analysis was used to identify distinct groups of infants based on physiological, behavioral and maternal reported measures of reactivity. Five replicable clusters were identified which corresponded to 1) Dysregulated/High Maternal Report Reactors, 2) Low Behavioral Reactors, 3) High Reactors, 4) Optimal Reactors and 5) Dysregulated/Low Maternal Report Reactors. These clusters were associated with differences in prenatal cocaine exposure status, birthweight, maternal depressive symptoms, and maternal negative affect during mother-infant interactions. These results support the presence of distinct reactivity profiles among high risk infants recruited on the basis of prenatal cocaine exposure and demographically similar control group infants not exposed to cocaine.
Guided by the heuristic model proposed by Eisenberg et al. [Psychol. Inq. 9 (1998) 241], we examined the relations of mothers' reported and observed negative expressivity to children's (N = 159; 74 girls; M age = 7.67 years) experience and expression of emotion. Children's experience and/or expression of emotion in response to a distressing film were measured with facial, heart rate, and self-report measures. Children's heart rate and facial distress were modestly positively related. Children's facial distress was significantly positively related to mothers' reports of negative (dominant and submissive) expressivity; the positive relation between children's facial distress and mothers' observed negative expressivity approached the conventional level of significance. Moreover, mothers' observed negative expressivity was significantly negatively related to children's heart rate reactivity during the conflict film. The positive relation between children's reported distress and mothers' observed negative expressivity approached the conventional level of significance. Several possible explanations for the pattern of findings are discussed.
This research investigated the contribution of deficits in emotional clarity to children's socioemotional adjustment. Specifically, this study examined the proposal that deficits in emotional clarity are associated with maladaptive interpersonal stress responses, and that maladaptive interpersonal stress responses act as a mechanism linking deficits in emotional clarity to childhood depressive symptoms. Participants included 345 3(rd) graders (M age = 8.89, SD = .34) assessed at two waves, approximately one year apart; youth completed self-report measures of emotional clarity, responses to interpersonal stress, and depressive symptoms. Results supported the hypothesized process model linking deficits in emotional clarity, maladaptive interpersonal stress responses, and depressive symptoms, adjusting for prior depressive symptoms. Findings have implications for theories of emotional competence and for depression-intervention efforts aimed at fostering emotional understanding and adaptive interpersonal stress responses.
English reading comprehension skill development was examined in a group of 87 native Spanish-speakers developing English literacy skills, followed from fourth through fifth grade. Specifically, the effects of Spanish (L1) and English (L2) oral language and word reading skills on reading comprehension were investigated. The participants showed average word reading skills and below average comprehension skills, influenced by low oral language skills. Structural equation modeling confirmed that L2 oral language skills had a large, significant effect on L2 reading comprehension, whereas students' word-level reading skills, whether in L1 or L2, were not significantly related to English reading comprehension in three of four models fitted. The results converge with findings from studies with monolinguals demonstrating the influence of oral language on reading comprehension outcomes, and extend these findings by showing that, for language minority learners, L2 oral language exerts a stronger influence than word reading in models of L2 reading.
Relations between night waking in infants and depressive symptoms in their mothers at 6 months postpartum were examined using the data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care. Although more depressive symptoms were only weakly correlated with a higher frequency of infant waking, longer wake times, and more total time awake, the rate of clinically significant depression scores was about double in mothers of chronically waking infants in comparison with mothers whose infants did not awaken during the night. The value of comparing subgroups to elucidate relations identified through correlations is discussed.
This longitudinal study assessed whether maternal behavior and emotional tone moderated the relationship between toddler temperament and preschooler's effortful control. Maternal behavior and emotional tone were observed during a parent-child competing demands task when children were 2 years of age. Child temperament was also assessed at 2 years of age, and three temperament groups were formed: inhibited, exuberant, and low reactive. At 4.5 years of age, children's effortful control was measured from parent-report and observational measures. Results indicated that parental behavior and emotional tone appear to be especially influential on exuberant children's effortful control development. Exuberant children whose mothers used commands and prohibitive statements with a positive emotional tone were more likely to be rated higher on parent-reported effortful control 2.5 years later. When mothers conveyed redirections and reasoning-explanations in a neutral tone, their exuberant children showed poorer effortful control at 4.5 years.
Speed of information processing and recognition memory can be assessed in infants using a visual information processing (VIP) paradigm. In a sample of 100 infants 6-8 months of age from Southern Ethiopia, we assessed relations between growth and VIP. The 69 infants who completed the VIP protocol had a mean weight z score of -1.12 ± 1.19 SD, and length z score of -1.05 ± 1.31. The age-appropriate novelty preference was shown by only 12 infants. When age was controlled, longest look duration during familiarization was predicted by weight (sr(2) = .16, p = .001) and length (sr(2) = .05, p =.058), and mean look duration during test phases was predicted by head circumference (sr(2) = .08, p = .018) implying that growth is associated with development of VIP. These data support the validity of VIP as a measure of infant cognitive development that is sensitive to nutritional factors and flexible enough to be adapted to individual cultures.
Research has informed practice since the origins of developmental psychology, but only recently has basic science and practice begun to be consistently integrated with one another. In addition, considerable research documents the utility of empirically-supported interventions, yet it has been difficult to implement such interventions outside of the research context. This paper describes two Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) for maltreated infants and preschoolers as an example of successful community, funder, and researcher partnerships. Key strengths and challenges involved in designing and conducting the studies are discussed, and the necessity of considering the developmental and cultural appropriateness of empirically-supported interventions is highlighted. Programs designed to provide data on the effectiveness of interventions initially evaluated in RCTs are presented. These initiatives indicate that it is possible to create successful evidence-based interventions, even within the complex world of the child welfare system. These studies provide information on developmental and outcome intervention differences that contribute to the scientific literature and have real-world implications for policy makers, funders, and ultimately, for children.
We analyzed the content of school-aged children's responses to a countywide in-class essay assignment in which they described what they are thankful for. Accounts were written in November of 2000 (n = 152) and 2001 (n = 196). We identified the most prominent themes of children's gratitude as well as differences in the themes that emerged before and after the September 11 terrorist attacks. We also examined sex and developmental differences in the gratitude themes. The most common themes were family, basic needs, friends, and teachers/school. Rescue workers, the United States and its values (e.g., freedom) appeared more frequently in 2001 than 2000. Girls expressed more gratitude than boys for a variety of interpersonal relationships; boys were more grateful for material objects. Older children mentioned several themes more frequently than younger children. Implications are discussed in the context of positive psychology.
Three surveys were given to 90 college-aged youth: (1) to examine their experience of and reactions to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster on September 11, 2001; (2) to evaluate Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms following the event; and (3) to assess the youth's general political views. These youth living in New York City were substantially influenced by the event, and their response involved three types of fearfulness, including limited PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, their political views provided a frame through which they interpreted the disaster on September 11. For example, students concerned about issues reflecting a concern for self-preservation worried about continuing terrorism. However, the event also provided a frame for youth's political views in that it dramatically increased the salience of issues relevant to terrorism. Knowledge related neither to political views nor reactions to September 11 except that greater knowledge was related to less fearfulness. Research is needed on the development of youth's political views, and school-based civic education and civic-oriented youth programs should be attentive to the relationship between political views, knowledge, and behavior.
Research is reported showing the positive effects of social support on mothers' interactions with their 18-month-old deaf infants. Subjects were 40 normally hearing mothers-20 with hearing-impaired infants and 20 with normally hearing infant. Two raters viewed videotapes of unstructured mother-infant play and rated mothers, infants, and dyads on 13 behavioral dimensions. A Support Index was constructed from mothers' questionnaire responses. Compared to mothers with hearing infants, mothers with deaf infants were rated as less likely to use frequent and positive Touch, to be less Sensitive (more Intrusive), less Flexible and less Consistent. Mothers with deaf and with hearing children were subdivided by high or low levels of support. Ratings of mothers with hearing children did not differ by support level; ratings for mothers with deaf children receiving high levels of social support were no different from those of the mothers with hearing children. Mothers with deaf children receiving low levels of social support were rated significantly more negatively than those in the three other groups. For mothers with deaf children, support reported closer to the time of diagnosis of the child's hearing loss showed a stronger relationship to the behavior ratings; support levels were more important than number of support sources; combined support over time and across sources increased the positive effects.