Tracy Vaillancourt

Tracy Vaillancourt
University of Ottawa

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278
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (278)
Article
The cover image is based on the Research Article Precursors of self‐regulation in infants at elevated likelihood for autism spectrum disorder by Nancy Garon et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13247. Image Credit: Megan N. Eppell
Article
Transactional models employing cross-lagged panels have been used for over 40 years to examine the longitudinal relations and directional associations between variables of interest to child and adolescent mental health. Through a narrative synthesis of the literature, we provide an accessible overview of cross-lagged panels with attention to develo...
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Autistic children experience high rates of anxiety. Insistence on sameness behaviour (IS) is a core feature of autism that appears correlated with anxiety severity. The objective of this study was to examine the longitudinal relations between anxiety and IS in autistic children using a developmental cascade model. A longitudinal cohort of 421 autis...
Article
Lay abstract: Sibling relationship quality is important for the well-being of children on the autism spectrum and their siblings. Little is known, however, about how varied behavior and abilities of children on the autism spectrum may be associated with parent perceptions of domains of sibling relationship quality. We drew data from a subsample of...
Article
We examined how bullying victimization across childhood and adolescence was associated with BPD symptoms in emerging adulthood. Participants were drawn from the McMaster Teen Study, representing a community sample. A three-class solution of bullying victimization trajectories was selected from a semi-parametric group-based trajectory analysis (ages...
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Differences in temperament have been linked to later mental health. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have an increased likelihood of experiencing such problems, including anxiety, depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder; yet, relations between early temperament and later mental health are...
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Bullying victimization is a form of psychological stress that is associated with poor outcomes in the areas of mental health and learning. Although the emotional maladjustment and memory impairment following interpersonal stress are well documented, the mechanisms of complex cerebral dysfunctions have neither been outlined nor studied in depth in t...
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Few have studied the longitudinal associations between the Dark Triad and bullying in youth and none have examined these relations using analytic techniques that permit separating between- from within-person variability. Random intercept cross-lagged panel modeling was used with three waves of data from a randomly selected sample of 514 Canadian ad...
Article
Research concerning temperament in children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has suggested a consistent profile of low positive affect, high negative affect, and low regulation (Visser et al., 2016). One area receiving less attention is individual differences among children diagnosed with ASD. The primary objective of this study was t...
Article
Aim We assessed the heterogeneous development of self-reported social anxiety symptoms across childhood and adolescence (ages 10 to 18; N = 701) and examined whether these groups predicted clinically derived diagnoses of social anxiety disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depressive episodes, panic disorder (PD), agoraphobia, obsessi...
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Background: Language regression, broadly defined as the loss of acquired language skills in early childhood, is a distinctive feature of autism. Little is known about the factors underlying regression or the prognosis of children who exhibit regression. We examine potential predictors of language regression and test its association with language d...
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Many have examined the desirability and mate competition tactics of adults higher on psychopathy using cross-sectional data, but few have studied the longitudinal associations between the lower-order factors of psychopathy (e.g., primary and secondary psychopathy) with indices of mating behavior in adolescents. More work is also needed to unravel h...
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Evolutionary scholars have highlighted how there are two normative approaches to enhancing one's status: dominance and prestige. Several individual differences have been found to differentially predict dominance and prestige status-seeking. The four socially aversive personality dimensions embodied within the Dark Tetrad (narcissism, Machiavelliani...
Article
Bullying is recognized as a significant problem that negatively impacts school-aged children worldwide. Although much has been learned about bullying and related physical and mental health problems, a limited number of studies have examined the relations between bullying victimization, academic achievement, and school attendance, and fewer studies...
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Lay abstract: Experiencing stressful life events, such as a parent having had serious illness, parental divorce, bullying and victimization, is known to increase risk for mental health difficulties in neurotypical children. However, few studies have looked at whether stressful life events have a similar impact in autistic youth and if any individu...
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This study examined the trajectories of autistic symptom severity in an inception cohort of 187 children with ASD assessed across four time points from diagnosis to age 10. Trajectory groups were derived using multivariate cluster analysis. A two trajectory/cluster solution was selected. Change in trajectory slopes revealed a turning point marked b...
Article
Although indirectly aggressive behavior and anxiety symptoms can co-occur, it is unclear whether anxiety is an antecedent or outcome of indirect aggression at the individual level and whether other personality traits can contribute to these longitudinal associations. Therefore, the between- and within-person associations among indirect aggression,...
Article
We examined the dynamic interplay of depression symptoms, mattering (i.e., self-evaluation of importance or significance to others), and anti-mattering across four years of development in young adulthood (age 20–23; N = 452) using a cross-lagged panel model (CLPM). Support for a transactional model between anti-mattering and depression symptoms was...
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This study examined parental perceptions of the character traits of children with autism from early childhood to age 11. Parents (n = 153) provided descriptions of the “best things” about their children on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) at ages 3–4, 7–8, and 10–11 years. Descriptions were coded using the framework of the Values in Action Class...
Article
In Reply We appreciate the response to our systematic review and meta-analysis in JAMA Pediatrics¹ suggesting that, in addition to a near doubling in clinically elevated depressive and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been increases in other mental health concerns, including eating disorders (EDs...
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We pursue an evidence-informed argument that interpersonal relationships in childhood and adolescence are central to achieving learning outcomes and that school closures across various parts of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic have compromised these critical relationships, jeopardizing educational attainment. We highlight how the centrality of r...
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We examined students’ perceptions of mattering during the pandemic in relation to in-person versus online learning in a sample of 6578 Canadian students in Grades 4–12. We found that elementary school students who attended school in-person reported mattering the most, followed by secondary school students who learned part-time in-person and the res...
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Background The majority of research examining emotional difficulties in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prior to age 2 relies on parent report. Methods We examined behavioral responses (affect and gaze) during emotionally salient tasks designed to elicit mildly positive and negative emotional states in infants. At 12 and 18 months, infants at an in...
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The directionality and longitudinal course between perfectionism and academic achievement throughout adolescence remains unclear as most studies rely on cross-sectional or short-term data and many examine these associations in university students who do not represent the full spectrum of learners. Moreover, most studies are hampered by their relian...
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Long-term outcomes of childhood bullying perpetration have been explored, but heterogeneity in outcomes reflecting nonclinical antisocial tendencies including indirect aggression, psychopathic personality, and interpersonal relations have not been examined from a person-centered approach. Accordingly, latent class growth analyses were used to exami...
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Children and youth flourish in environments that are predictable, safe, and structured. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted these protective factors making it difficult for children and youth to adapt and thrive. Pandemic-related school closures, family stress, and trauma have led to increases in mental health problems in some children and youth, a...
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Background Restricted and repetitive behavior (RRB) is one of the characteristic features of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This domain of symptoms includes a broad range of behaviors. There is a need to study each behavior individually to better understand the role of each in the development of autistic children. Moreover, there are currently no longit...
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Aversive events can evoke strong emotions that trigger cerebral neuroactivity to facilitate behavioral and cognitive shifts to secure physiological stability. However, upon intense and/or chronic exposure to such events, the neural coping processes can be maladaptive and disrupt mental well-being. This maladaptation denotes a pivotal point when psy...
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Background: Executive functioning (EF) varies in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is associated with clinical symptoms, academic, and adaptive functioning. Here, we examined whether middle-childhood EF mediates associations between early-childhood autism symptoms and adolescent outcomes in children with ASD. Methods: The Pathways...
Article
In their policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children and youth, the United Nations identified the need for “a rapid accumulation of data on the scale and nature of impacts among children.”1(p14) Although an important goal, this call to action defies how research typically unfolds. Science is a slow, methodical process that requires careful c...
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We examined the impact of COVID-19 on bullying prevalence rates in a sample of 6578 Canadian students in Grades 4 to 12. To account for school changes associated with the pandemic, students were randomized at the school level into two conditions: (1) the pre-COVID-19 condition, assessing bullying prevalence rates retrospectively before the pandemic...
Article
The joint developmental trajectories of narcissism and self-esteem were examined across ages 13 to 19 in the prediction of interpersonal features at age 20 (indirect aggression, jealousy, hypercompetitiveness, mate value). In 617 individuals (54.5% girls/women; 76.2% White), the five expected groups of interest were found: (1) high increasing narci...
Article
Objective: Bullying perpetration has been proposed to be a strategic behavior used by adolescents to compete for social resources, yet the co-development of bullying perpetration and trait hypercompetitiveness is understudied. The joint developmental trajectories of self-rated bullying perpetration and parent-rated hypercompetitiveness were investi...
Article
Up to 80% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience sleep disturbance. Poor sleep impairs executive functioning (EF), a lifelong difficulty in ASD. Evidence suggests EF difficulties in ASD are exacerbated by poor sleep. We examine whether early childhood sleep disturbances are associated with worsening EF trajectories in school-age...
Article
Indirect aggression has been associated with antisocial personality traits like Machiavellianism, but there is a lack of evidence on their longitudinal development across adolescence. Therefore, the joint developmental trajectories of adolescent indirect aggression and Machiavellianism across 3 years of high school (Grades 10 to 12) were investigat...
Article
Background: Although early autism spectrum disorder (ASD) detection strategies tend to focus on differences at a point in time, behavioral symptom trajectories may also be informative. Methods: Developmental trajectories of early signs of ASD were examined in younger siblings of children diagnosed with ASD (n = 499) and infants with no family hi...
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Despite considerable progress in characterizing the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), more remains to be learned about how symptoms emerge in the first year of life. Parents with a new baby who already had at least one biological child diagnosed with ASD (high-risk) or no family history of ASD (low-risk) completed two measures when the...
Article
Although much is known about the development of physical aggression across the lifespan, far less is known about the developmental pattern of indirect aggression from childhood to adulthood. Accordingly, we examined the self‐reported use of indirect aggression from age 10 to 22 in a randomly drawn sample of 704 Canadians. A person‐centered approach...
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Bullying victimization and trauma research traditions operate quite separately. Hence, it is unclear from the literature whether bullying victimization should be considered as a form of interpersonal trauma. We review studies that connect bullying victimization with symptoms of PTSD, and in doing so, demonstrate that a conceptual understanding of t...
Article
The objectives were to characterize behavioral signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in younger siblings of diagnosed children (high-risk; HR) and examine classification features of the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI). Participants (501 HR and 180 low-risk [LR]) were assessed between 6 and 18 months using the AOSI and at age 3 for ASD...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Restricted and repetitive behaviors are one of the characteristic features of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This domain of symptoms includes a broad range of behaviors. There is a need to study each behavior individually to better understand the role they each have in the development of autistic children. Moreover, there are currently no lo...
Article
Objective The joint developmental trajectories of empathic concern and perspective taking were examined across adolescence, along with childhood social and psychological predictors. Method Adolescents completed self‐report measures of empathy annually from Grades 7 to 10 (i.e., ages 13 to 16; N = 609; 53.9% girls; 76.2% White). Childhood social an...
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Objectives: Although there is some evidence on the longitudinal associations between bullying perpetration and narcissistic personality traits, their joint developmental trajectories across early to late adolescence are largely unknown. Accordingly, we examined the co-development of bullying perpetration and narcissistic personality traits across a...
Preprint
Study Objectives: Up to 80% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience sleep disturbance. Poor sleep impairs executive functioning (EF), a lifelong difficulty in ASD. Evidence suggests EF impairments in ASD is exacerbated by poor sleep. We examine whether early childhood sleep disturbances are associated with worsening EF trajectori...
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Full-text available
This study investigated rates of suicidal ideation (SI) and suicidal and/or self-injurious behaviour (SSIB) reported by parents on the Child Behavior Checklist for 178 children with ASD over four annual assessments (ages 7–11 years). Analyses examined the frequency and persistence of SI and SSIB, and the association of SI and SSIB at any time point...
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We examined the temporal precedence between perceived peer rejection, rejection sensitivity, depression, and aggression in a sample of 544 adolescents (55.7% girls; Mage = 14.96 years at the first measured time point) assessed yearly from Grade 9 to Grade 12. Using developmental cascade modelling to analyze the data, our study supported the symptom...
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Although evidence suggests that the perpetration of bullying, sexual harassment, homophobic taunting, and dating violence co-occur, there is a dearth of longitudinal research that considers these four forms of interpersonal aggression together. Using a developmental cascade model, the current study examined the longitudinal development of aggressiv...
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Many scholars have investigated the attitudes, beliefs, motives, and behavior of male clients of female sex workers. However, few have examined individual differences in major dimensions of personality expressed by men who purchase prostitution compared to those who do not. Although several evolutionary psychologists have studied prostitution and t...
Article
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on human behavior and well-being. Demographic factors and personality traits have been shown to independently influence whether individuals adopt adaptive or maladaptive coping responses. However, to date, researchers have not considered how demographics and personality could interact to...
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Educators detect and intervene in a small proportion of bullying incidents. Although students are present when many bullying episodes occur, they are often reluctant to intervene. This study explored attributes of antibullying (AB) programs influencing the decision to intervene. Grade 5, 6, 7, and 8 students (N = 2,033) completed a discrete choice...
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Empathy has been often negatively associated with bullying perpetration, whereas tendencies to be exploitative have been relatively understudied with bullying. Empathic concern and exploitation may also indirectly link distal social-ecological factors to bullying perpetration. Therefore, the associations among personality (i.e., empathic concern, e...
Article
Background Sleep problems are more common and severe among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to their typically developing peers. The goal of this study was to characterize sleep problems profiles and their clinical correlates, based on a five-factor model of the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) among preschool child...
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Understanding differences in social-emotional behavior can help identify atypical development. This study examined the differences in social-emotional development in children at increased risk of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis (infant siblings of children diagnosed with the disorder). Parents completed the Brief Infant-Toddler Social-E...
Chapter
From an evolutionary perspective, aggression is viewed as a flexible context-specific adaption that was selected for because it enhanced the survival and reproductive success of ancestral humans. Evolutionary pressures have impinged differentially on the sexes, leading to the hypothesis that sex differences should be manifest in aggressive behavior...
Article
Background Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have increased susceptibility to anxiety disorders. Variation in a common ASD symptom, insistence on sameness behaviour, may predict future anxiety symptoms. Aims To describe the joint heterogeneous longitudinal trajectories of insistence on sameness and anxiety in children with ASD and to ch...
Article
Lay abstract: Temperament is often thought of as behavioural traits that are relatively stable over time but can vary between individuals. Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are often characterized as having 'reactive' and 'negative' temperaments when compared to same-aged peers with or without disabilities, which can negatively impa...
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Full-text available
Social-emotional behavior in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was examined among high-risk (HR; siblings of children diagnosed with ASD) and low-risk (LR; no family history of ASD) toddlers. Caregivers completed the Infant-Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) at 18 months, and blind diagnostic assessment for ASD was conducted at 36 months. Res...
Article
Objective: The purpose of the study was to identify profiles and predictors of academic and social functioning in a sample of school-age children with autism spectrum disorder. Method: The study included 178 children (88% boys, 75% Caucasian, ages 10–11) who completed a standardized measure of academic skills and whose teachers completed a related...
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We used a discrete choice conjoint experiment to model the anti-bullying (AB) program preferences of 1080 junior kindergarten to Grade 8 educators. Participants chose between hypothetical AB programs that varied combinations of 12 design attributes. Multi-level latent class analysis yielded three classes: All-in Supervisors (21.5%) preferred that a...
Article
Background: Sleep problems are prevalent among young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) is commonly used for assessment, but there are outstanding questions regarding its optimal measurement model. Aims: To examine the factor structure of the CSHQ in preschool children with ASD, and re...
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Preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience slower development of daily living skills (DLS) that are essential for independent functioning compared to typically developing children. Few studies have examined the trajectories of DLS in preschoolers with ASD and the existing literature has reported conflicting results. This stud...
Article
Although socially prescribed perfectionism has been associated with psychosocial difficulties, its longitudinal associations with adolescent bullying perpetration, peer victimization, and narcissism remain unknown. We examined these links in a sample of 577 adolescents assessed annually on six occasions (Grades 7–12; mean age 13.02 (SD = 0.38) in G...
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Full-text available
We investigated the developmental pathways by which bullying perpetration and victimization, anxiety, and disordered eating behavior were related. Participants were drawn from the Canadian McMaster Teen Study. From Grade 5–8 (age 10–14), students (n = 657) were assessed on bullying involvement and symptoms of anxiety, and in Grade 7 and 8, students...
Article
Background Anxiety, depression and somatization (the internalizing cluster) are highly comorbid, prevalent and associated with significant individual and societal costs. Although prior studies have examined their natural course, there has been a little investigation into how symptoms unfold at the individual level. We examined the intraindividual (...
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The purpose of the study was to test whether gender non-normative aggression and transition to high school moderated the relation between peer victimization and depression symptoms during late childhood and adolescence. Specifically, overt aggression was expected to moderate the relation between peer victimization and depression symptoms for girls...
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Full-text available
Objective: A significant proportion of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will develop an anxiety disorder during childhood. Restricted and repetitive behavior severity in ASD positively correlates with anxiety severity in cross-sectional surveys. The longitudinal relationship between restricted/repetitive behavior and future anxiety sym...
Article
Background: Studies estimate that 30% of individuals with autism are minimally verbal. Understanding what factors predict longer-term expressive development in children with language delays is critical to inform identification and treatment of those at-risk for persistent language impairments. The present study examined predictors of expressive la...
Article
Bullying events have frequently been the focus of coverage by news media, including news stories about teens whose death from suicide was attributed to cyberbullying. Previous work has shown that news media coverage is influential to readers in areas such as suicide, infectious disease outbreaks, and tobacco use. News media may be an untapped resou...
Article
Depression is associated with a multiplicity of adverse outcomes in adolescence, including peer victimization and low self-esteem. Depressive symptoms, peer victimization, and self-esteem are linked in cross-sectional studies, but no longitudinal study has been conducted assessing their developmental pathways in one integrated model across adolesce...
Article
The HEXACO model and life history theory have been used to examine the adaptive trade-offs of personality traits that combine to guide life history strategies (LHSs). A "fast" LHS embodies a preference for early mating along with limited parental investment, whereas a "slow" strategy denotes the opposite pattern. Clarity is currently needed regardi...
Chapter
In the evolutionary sciences, gossip is argued to constitute an adaptation that enabled human beings to disseminate information about and to keep track of others within a vast and expansive social network. Although gossip can effectively encourage in-group cooper­ation, it can also be used as a low-cost and covert aggressive tactic to compete with...