Article

Effects of infant negative affect and contextual factors on infant regulatory capacity: The moderating role of infant sex

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Infants' abilities to orient and regulate are directly linked to self‐regulatory capacity in childhood, which is subsequently associated with indicators of health and well‐being. However, relatively little is known regarding factors affecting early orienting and regulation. The current study evaluated the effects of infant negative affect and household chaos when children were 4 months old and parenting at 6 months of age on subsequent regulatory capacity at 8 months of age in a sample of 179 mother‐infant dyads. The potential moderating role of infant sex was examined in consideration of the viability–vulnerability tradeoff theory, which posits that females may be more susceptible to the impact of stressful environments in early development. Analyses indicated that early household chaos was related to subsequently lower orienting/regulatory abilities at 8 months of age. Additionally, there were significant sex‐by‐negative affectivity and sex‐by‐household chaos interactions, such that boys' regulatory capacity was negatively impacted by early negative affectivity and girls' was adversely affected by household chaos. Findings indicate some support for the viability–vulnerability tradeoff theory. The current study evaluated whether early negative affect and contextual factors impacted infant orienting/regulation at 8 months of age, and whether they influenced boys and girls differently. Results indicate that chaotic household environments negatively impact infants' ability to orient/regulate, and that male and female infants are differently affected by early negative affectivity and household chaos. This study suggests that parents should aim to decrease levels of home chaos to promote optimal regulatory development, and finds some support for the viability‐vulnerability tradeoff theory.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... For understanding the developmental pathways leading to maladaptive outcomes or psychological adjustment of individuals, it is essential to explore groups of children being more vulnerable to early risks. One individual characteristic moderating risk effects has been identified in the child's gender (Petrenko et al., 2019;Rutter, 1989;Tronick & Reck, 2009;Werner & Smith, 2001). The last objective of our study was therefore to explore family risk effects and the transmitting processes on attachment security depending on the child's gender. ...
Article
Full-text available
Growing up in high-risk environments is detrimental to children’s development of attachment security. Parenting behavior is hypothesized to be the mechanism through which risks exert their influence. However, risk influences can vary between individuals by gender. Aim of this study was to explore specific pathways of family risk on early attachment security and additionally examine the transmission via parenting behavior. The sample consisted of 197 children and their primary caregivers. Children’s age ranged between 10 and 21 months ( M = 15.25, SD = 3.59). Data assessment included 21 distal and proximal family risk factors, children’s attachment security, and parental responsivity and supportive presence. Whereas distal risk factors had an adverse effect only on girls’ attachment security, proximal risks negatively affected only boys’ attachment security. Additionally, patterns of risk factors occurring in our sample were analyzed using an exploratory principal component analysis. Regardless of the child’s gender, a low socio- economic status was negatively related to attachment security of all children. Migration and crowding and a high emotional load of the primary caregiver both negatively predicted girls’ but not boys’ attachment security. However, the attachment security of boys was affected by a negative family climate. Most of the adverse risk effects on attachment security were mediated by parental responsivity and supportive presence so that the transmission of risk occurs through parenting behavior. Results revealed a different susceptibility of family risks for girls and boys. The consideration of a gender-sensitive approach in developmental psychopathology and interventions of developmental child welfare services is recommended.
... Indeed, HC may become a source of unpredictability and hyperarousal, which depletes children's self-regulatory capacities Kao et al., 2020; and, in turn, heightened behavior problems (Hardaway et al., 2012). Support for this premise in infancy comes from at least two studies of first-year infants in which linkages were found between high levels of HC and less well-developed self-regulatory capacities and negative emotionality (Bridgett et al., 2013;Petrenko et al., 2019). These findings are noteworthy, given that self-regulation is central to SoE competencies across a broad domain (Eisenberg et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The second year of life is a time of formative developmental change as basic behavioral systems undergo rapid integration and expansion. This study examined the developmental trajectories of social-emotional (SoE) outcomes and the effects of infant sex and household chaos (HC) on the development of SoE outcomes across the second year of life. The participating families (N = 143) were ethnically homogenous (88% Caucasian) but economically diverse (31% low-to-very-low income). Mothers reported on their children's SoE outcomes including externalizing, internalizing, dysregulating problem behaviors as well as SoE competence when infants (54% girls) were 12, 18, and 24 months old. At each age point, HC was assessed through observations during home visits and compliance to the study protocols. Multilevel modeling revealed increasing developmental trajectories in all of the domains of SoE outcomes across the second year of life, reflecting the premise that these behavioral systems continue to form and become increasingly part of the infant's behavioral repertoire as development unfolds. However, compared to infants in less chaotic homes, infants in more chaotic households experienced steeper increases in both externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors across the second year, and girls showed higher levels of internalizing problem behaviors compared to boys. Results emphasize the increasing trajectories of problem behaviors in relation to ongoing chaotic caregiving environment among infants as young as 2 years of age. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The formation of early regulatory behavior during the first years is an important developmental task and predictive for self-regulatory abilities in later life. Although parental behavior is thought to be highly influential in this developmental trajectory, associations between infant regulatory behavior and parental behavior have been diverse. The current paper systematically reviews the empirical research on the relationship between behavioral indicators of infant regulation–temperamental characteristics, sleeping, crying, feeding–and parental behavior during the first two years of life. After screening 4254 articles obtained from Web of Science and PsycINFO, 107 studies were included in the systematic review. The studies fell short of integrating negative parental behavior, paternal variables and further demographic information into the research and did not reveal consistent findings. However, the studies indicated a positive relationship between parental behavior and infant regulation with differences according to age and measurement method. It appears that the use of semi-structured methods to measure infant regulation is most appropriate during the first year of life, whereas the use of structured measures is more advisable during the second year of life. In contrast, parental reports measuring infant regulation failed to show significant findings with parenting behavior at any given time. The association was more powerful when infant regulation was predicted by parental behavior than vice versa. However, the number of studies regarding the latter direction was limited. This review, thus, underlines the importance of using different measurement methods according to age, and discusses the ways to improve future research.
Article
Full-text available
Maternal depressive symptoms influence neurodevelopment in the offspring. Such effects may appear to be gender-dependent. The present study examined contributions of prenatal and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms to the volume and microstructure of the amygdala in 4.5-year-old boys and girls. Prenatal maternal depressive symptoms were measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 26 weeks of gestation. Postnatal maternal depression was assessed at 3 months using the EPDS and at 1, 2, 3 and 4.5 years using the Beck’s Depression Inventory-II. Structural magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging were performed with 4.5-year-old children to extract the volume and fractional anisotropy (FA) values of the amygdala. Our results showed that greater prenatal maternal depressive symptoms were associated with larger right amygdala volume in girls, but not in boys. Increased postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were associated with higher right amygdala FA in the overall sample and girls, but not in boys. These results support the role of variation in right amygdala structure in transmission of maternal depression to the offspring, particularly to girls. The differential effects of prenatal and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms on the volume and FA of the right amygdala suggest the importance of the timing of exposure to maternal depressive symptoms in brain development of girls. This further underscores the need for intervention targeting both prenatal and postnatal maternal depression to girls in preventing adverse child outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
The ability to inhibit unwanted responses is critical for effective control of behavior, and inhibition failures can have disastrous consequences in real-world situations. Here, we examined how prior exposure to negative emotional stimuli affects the response-stopping network. Participants performed the stop-signal task, which relies on inhibitory control processes, after they viewed blocks of either negatively emotional or neutral images. In Experiment 1, we found that neural activity was reduced following negative image viewing. When participants were required to inhibit responding after neutral image viewing, we observed activation consistent with previous studies using the stop-signal task. However, when participants were required to inhibit responding after negative image viewing, we observed reductions in the activation of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, medial frontal cortex, and parietal cortex. Furthermore, analysis of neural connectivity during stop-signal task blocks indicated that across participants, emotion-induced changes in behavioral performance were associated with changes in functional connectivity, such that greater behavioral impairment after negative image viewing was associated with greater weakening of connectivity. In Experiment 2, we collected behavioral data from a larger sample of participants and found that stopping performance was impaired after negative image viewing, as seen in longer stop-signal reaction times. The present results demonstrate that negative emotional events can prospectively disrupt the neural network supporting response inhibition.
Article
Full-text available
Three studies explored attentional orienting and soothing of distress in 3-and 6-month-old infants. Distress was precipitated by exposure to continuous auditory and visual stimulation, and followed by presentation of toys or computer displays to elicit soothing. In Study 1, infants calmed during 10-s toy presentations, but resumed distress equal to that prior to distraction upon toy withdrawal. Study 2 showed that distraction durations of 10, 30, and 60 s soothed infants equally during distraction, and all were followed by resumed levels of distress expression upon toy withdrawal. Study 3 found that manipulating the identity of the detractors improved soothing effects; location manipulations did not. The resurgence of distress expression following distraction suggests operation of a "distress keeper," an internal mechanism that appears to maintain distress levels during distraction so that distress expression resumes following distraction.
Article
Full-text available
The ability to effectively regulate emotions is an important marker for early socio-emotional development. The uses of self-comforting behaviors and self-distraction have been empirically supported as effective regulatory strategies for infants, although research on determinants of such behaviors is scarce. Thus, a more thorough examination of the development of regulatory behaviors is needed. For the current study, 135 mothers, fathers, and their infants participated in laboratory visits at 3, 5, and 7 months of age where parent sensitivity and infant regulatory strategies were coded from the Still-Face Paradigm. Parents also filled out questionnaires about infant temperament and parental involvement. Using multilevel modeling to examine levels and trajectories of self-comforting and self-distraction, the current study found: (1) infants higher in temperamental surgency used more self-distraction and self-comforting, (2) infants lower in surgency with highly involved parents increased in self-distraction at a faster rate, particularly with highly involved fathers, and (3) infants used self-comforting more than average with fathers when the infant was also lower in temperamental regulation. In addition, we examined trajectories of parent involvement and temperament in relation to infant regulatory strategy.
Article
Full-text available
Most studies on early childhood parenting include only mothers. Fathers are rarely observed in interaction with their young children, although they play an important role in the socialization of their children. In this study, we observed parenting of mothers and fathers toward their sons and daughters in families with two children, using a within-family approach in a sample with systematically varying family constellations. Participants included 389 families with two children (1 and 3 years of age). Parenting practices were coded during free play using the Emotional Availability Scales (Biringen, 2008). Findings revealed that mothers showed higher levels of sensitivity and lower levels of intrusiveness toward their children than fathers. Furthermore, mothers and fathers were more sensitive and less intrusive toward their oldest child than toward their youngest child. Fathers' higher intrusiveness toward the youngest child was only found in the case of a youngest boy. Child gender was not related to parenting in any of the other analyses. Our results suggest that parent gender is more salient than child gender in the prediction of parenting practices in early childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Early biobehavioral regulation, a major influence of later adaptation, develops through dyadic interactions with caregivers. Thus, identification of maternal characteristics that can ameliorate or exacerbate infants' innate vulnerabilities is key for infant well-being and long-term healthy development. The present study evaluated the influence of maternal parenting, postpartum psychopathology, history of childhood maltreatment, and demographic risk on infant behavioral and physiological (i.e., salivary cortisol) regulation using the still-face paradigm. Our sample included 153 women with high rates of childhood maltreatment experiences. Mother-infant dyads completed a multimethod assessment at 7 months of age. Structural equation modeling showed that maternal positive (i.e., sensitive, warm, engaged, and joyful) and negative (i.e., overcontrolling and hostile) behaviors during interactions were associated with concurrent maternal depressive symptoms, single parent status, and low family income. In turn, positive parenting predicted improved infant behavioral regulation (i.e., positive affect and social behaviors following the stressor) and decreased cortisol reactivity (i.e., posttask levels that were similar to or lower than baseline cortisol). These findings suggest increased risk for those women experiencing high levels of depressive symptoms postpartum and highlight the importance of maternal positive interactive behaviors during the first year for children's neurodevelopment.
Article
Full-text available
Longitudinal relations among ego-resiliency (ER), effortful control (EC), and observed intrusive parenting were examined at 18, 30, and 42 months of age (Ns = 256, 230, and 210) using structural equation modeling. Intrusive parenting at 18 and 30 months negatively predicted EC a year later, over and above earlier levels. EC at 30 months mediated the negative relation between 18-month intrusive parenting and ER at 42 months when controlling for stability of the variables. ER did not predict EC. The findings suggest that intrusive parenting may have a negative effect on children's ego-resiliency through its effects on children's abilities to regulate attention and behavior.
Article
Full-text available
Background From 2000 a routine survey of mothers with newborn infants was commenced in South Western Sydney. The survey included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors for postnatal depressive symptoms in women living in metropolitan Sydney, Australia. Methods Mothers (n=15,389) delivering in 2002 and 2003 were assessed at 2–3 weeks after delivery for risk factors for depressive symptoms. The binary outcome variables were EPDS >9 and >12. Logistic regression was used for the multivariate analysis. Results The prevalence of EPDS >9 was 16.93 per 100 (95% CI: 16.34 to 17.52) and EPDS >12 was 7.73 per 100 (95% CI: 6.96 to 7.78). The final parsimonious logistic regression models included measures of infant behaviour, financial stress, mother’s expectation of motherhood, emotional support, sole parenthood, social support and mother’s country of birth. Conclusions Infant temperament and unmet maternal expectations have a strong association with depressive symptoms with implications for the design of both preventative and treatment strategies. The findings also support the proposition that social exclusion and social isolation are important determinants of maternal depression.
Article
Full-text available
The developmental origins of disease or fetal programming model predict that early exposures to threat or adverse conditions have lifelong consequences that result in harmful outcomes for health. The maternal endocrine 'fight or flight' system is a source of programming information for the human fetus to detect threats and adjust their developmental trajectory for survival. Fetal exposures to intrauterine conditions including elevated stress hormones increase the risk for a spectrum of health outcomes depending on the timing of exposure, the timetable of organogenesis and the developmental milestones assessed. Recent prospective studies, reviewed here, have documented the neurodevelopmental consequences of fetal exposures to the trajectory of stress hormones over the course of gestation. These studies have shown that fetal exposures to biological markers of adversity have significant and largely negative consequences for fetal, infant and child emotional and cognitive regulation and reduced volume in specific brain structures.
Article
Full-text available
The relations between mothers' expressed positive and negative emotion and 55–79-month-olds' (76% European American) regulation, social competence, and adjustment were examined. Structural equation modeling was used to test the plausibility of the hypothesis that the effects of maternal expression of emotion on children's adjustment and social competence are mediated through children's dispositional regulation. Mothers' expressed emotions were assessed during interactions with their children and with maternal reports of emotions expressed in the family. Children's regulation, externalizing and internalizing problems, and social competence were rated by parents and teachers, and children's persistence was surreptitiously observed. There were unique effects of positive and negative maternal expressed emotion on children's regulation, and the relations of maternal expressed emotion to children's externalizing problem behaviors and social competence were mediated through children's regulation. Alternative models of causation were tested; a child-directed model in which maternal expressivity mediated the effects of child regulation on child outcomes did not fit the data as well. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
The theory of developmental programming suggests that diseases such as the metabolic syndrome may be 'programmed' by exposure to adverse stimuli during early development. The developmental programming literature encompasses the study of a wide range of suboptimal intrauterine environments in a variety of species, and correlates these with diverse phenotypic outcomes in the offspring. At a molecular level, a large number of variables have been measured and suggested as the basis of the programmed phenotype. The range of both dependent and independent variables studied often makes the developmental programming literature complex to interpret, and the drawing of definitive conclusions difficult. A common, though under-explored, theme of many developmental programming models is a sex difference in offspring outcomes. This holds true across a range of interventions, including dietary, hypoxic and surgical models. The molecular and phenotypic outcomes of adverse in utero conditions are often more prominent in male than female offspring, although there is little consideration given to the basis for this observation in most studies. We review the evidence that maternal energy investment in male and female conceptuses may not be equal and may be environment-dependent. It is suggested that male and female development could be viewed as separate processes from the time of conception, with differences in both timing and outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
Studies have shown that distal family risk factors like poverty and maternal education are strongly related to children's early language development. Yet, few studies have examined these risk factors in combination with more proximal day-to-day experiences of children that might be critical to understanding variation in early language. Young children's exposure to a chronically chaotic household may be one critical experience that is related to poorer language, beyond the contribution of SES and other demographic variables. In addition, it is not clear whether parenting might mediate the relationship between chaos and language. The purpose of this study was to understand how multiple indicators of chaos over children's first three years of life, in a representative sample of children living in low wealth rural communities, were related to child expressive and receptive language at 36 months. Factor analysis of 10 chaos indicators over five time periods suggested two factors that were named household disorganization and instability. Results suggested that after accounting for thirteen covariates like maternal education and poverty, one of two chaos composites (household disorganization) accounted for significant variance in receptive and expressive language. Parenting partially mediated this relationship although household disorganization continued to account for unique variance in predicting early language.
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we discuss the evolutionary basis of differences in paternal and maternal parenting behavior in Western societies and apply this to the intergenerational transmission of anxiety. The different specializations that males and females developed during the course of human evolution (e.g., social competition, risk taking, taking chances for males, and care, nurturing, intimate bonding for females), are expected to be reflected in their parenting behavior, which evidence confirms. Research is reviewed in which fathers' and mothers' role in (overcoming) child anxiety is examined. It seems that some parenting behaviors are protective for anxiety if they are expressed by the parent of one sex, but are a risk for anxiety development if the other parent displays them. Finally, we propose that it might be more difficult for anxious men to teach their sons their gender role, as anxiety hinders exploring the external world and competing with others, whereas anxiety in women is not likely to negatively affect teaching their gender role of protecting, caring and nurturing to their daughters.
Article
Full-text available
A meta-analysis of 41 studies was conducted to examine the strength of the relation between parenting (positive control, negative control and responsiveness) and self-regulation in preschoolers. Results revealed significant associations between both types of parental control and self-regulation, with effect sizes being small in magnitude. There was no significant association between self-regulation and responsiveness. The strength of the association between parenting and self-regulation varied with different conceptualizations of self-regulation; positive and negative control were associated with child compliance, but not with inhibition and emotion regulation. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Full-text available
Recently, there has been a great deal of research on the socialization of children's emotions and self-regulation. In the present study, the specific strategies that mothers use to help their young children regulate their emotional responses were examined using a longitudinal design. Forty-three mother–toddler pairs were observed when toddlers were both 18 and 30 months of age, and mothers' attempts to regulate their toddlers' emotions during several emotion-eliciting tasks were transcribed from video-tape. When the children were 5 years old, their responses to a disappointment task were observed. Results indicated a relation between mothers' regulation strategies in toddlerhood and children's facial and behavioral responses to the disappointment task measured at 5 years of age. Specifically, mothers' use of regulation strategies at 30 months, but not at 18 months, was positively related to children's appropriate emo-tional displays in response to disappointment. Moreover, the specific types of strate-gies that mothers used had differential associations to children's responses to disappointment. Findings are discussed in terms of the potentially important role of mothers' behaviors in the development of children's emotion self-regulation.
Article
Full-text available
Data from a sample of young adolescents between the ages of 10 and 12 years (N = 898) from the mother–child data set of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth were analyzed in a study of influences that explain the relation between poverty and depressive symptoms measured 2 years later. Other variables that predicted youth depressive symptoms were also identified. Results indicated that neighborhood problems, nonparticipation in outside school and neighborhood activities, residing with mothers who exhibited depressive symptoms, and mother's use of physical punishment were partial mediators of the effect of poverty on depressive symptoms 2 years later. Youth health status, lower levels of school satisfaction, marital-partner conflict, and father's emotional support also predicted depressive symptoms. The findings indicate that youth depressive symptoms are multiply determined and that poverty can adversely affect young adolescents in many ways.
Article
The origins of top-down self-regulation are attributed to genetic and socialization factors as evidenced by high heritability estimates from twin studies and the influential role of parenting. However, recent evidence suggests that parenting behavior itself is affected by parents’ own top-down self-regulation. Because children’s top-down self-regulation is influenced by genetic factors and parenting is influenced by top-down self-regulation, the effects of parenting on children’s top-down self-regulation identified in prior studies may partially reflect passive gene–environment correlation. The goal of this study was to examine parenting influences on children’s top-down self-regulation using a longitudinal, adoption-at- birth design, a method of identifying parenting influences that are independent of the role of shared genetic influences on children’s characteristics because adoptive parents are genetically unrelated to their adopted child. Participants (N = 361) included adoptive families and biological mothers of adopted children. Adoptive mothers’ and fathers’ harsh/negative parenting were assessed when children were 27 months of age and biological mothers’ top-down self-regulation was assessed when children were 54 months of age. Adopted children’s top-down self-regulation was assessed when they were 54 and 72 months of age. Results, accounting for child gender, biological mother top-down self-regulation, and the potential evocative effects of adopted child anger, provide evidence that inherited influences and socialization processes uniquely contribute to children’s top-down self-regulation. Furthermore, findings demonstrate the importance of both mother’s and father’s parenting behavior as an influence on young children’s top-down self-regulation. The implications of these findings for understanding the complex mechanisms that influence children’s top-down self-regulation are discussed.
Article
Little consideration has been given to the possibility of human infant development being shaped via lactocrine programming, and by breast milk cortisol levels specifically. Despite animal models indicating that glucocorticoid (GC) exposure via lactation might modify brain development and behavior, only one study has reported that milk cortisol levels were positively associated with infant negative affectivity, especially fearfulness and sadness—early emerging risk factors for internalizing difficulties such as anxiety. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether human milk cortisol is associated with mother-reported fearfulness and experimentally induced infant fear reactivity. Mother-infant dyads (n = 65) enrolled in the FinnBrain Cohort Study participated. Breast milk samples were obtained 2.5 months postpartum, and milk cortisol concentrations were ascertained using validated luminescence immunoassay methodology. Infant fear reactivity was assessed using maternal reports 6 months postpartum and in a laboratory 8 months postpartum. There was a significant interaction between infant sex and milk cortisol such that higher milk cortisol was related to higher infant fear reactivity in a laboratory setting in girls (β = 0.36, p = .04) but not in boys (β = −0.15, p = .40). Milk cortisol was not associated with mother-reported infant fearfulness. Results suggest that higher human milk cortisol concentrations are associated with elevated experimentally induced fear in infancy. Findings support lactocrine programming, and suggest that mothers may “communicate” vital information about stressful environments via cortisol contained in breast milk, shaping girls’ early emotional reactivity.
Article
Previous studies report that early life stress, including maternal pre- and postnatal stress, has adverse effects on cognitive development and that these associations might be sex-specific. However, no studies exist on early life stress and infant executive functioning (EF). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal pre- and postnatal stress and infant EF, and whether these associations are moderated by infant sex. Maternal prenatal depressive, general anxiety, and pregnancy-specific anxiety symptoms were measured three times, and postnatal depressive and general anxiety symptoms were measured 6 months postpartum. Infant EF was assessed with a modified A-not-B task 8 months postpartum (N = 214). Maternal postnatal general anxiety predicted poorer EF in girls in comparison with boys. Moreover, there was a trend toward an interaction between prenatal anxiety and infant sex such that prenatal anxiety predicted infant EF differently in girls and in boys. No association was found between depressive symptoms or pregnancy-specific anxiety symptoms and infant EF. These findings suggest that maternal anxiety may have sex-specific effects on early EF and that pre- and postnatal stress may differently affect infant EF/cognitive development. The implications of these findings and important future directions are discussed.
Article
Fetal glucocorticoid overexposure is a key mechanism linking early development with later-life disease. In humans, low birth weight associates with increased fasting cortisol, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity, and with cardiovascular risk and cognitive decline. As there are sex differences in these adult diseases, we hypothesized that there may be sex differences in programming of the HPA axis in response to prenatal stressors. We conducted a systematic review following Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. We searched Embase, MEDLINE and Web of Science from inception to 31 October 2016. We included studies related to sex differences, prenatal exposures and HPA axis. We excluded studies investigating specific disease states. The 23 included studies investigated the consequences of low birth weight, preterm birth and maternal stressors of asthma, psychosocial stress and glucocorticoid medications on HPA axis outcomes of placental glucocorticoid biology and offspring HPA axis function in early life and later life. Female offspring exposed to stressors had increased HPA axis reactivity compared with males. Furthermore, the female placenta increased its permeability to maternal glucocorticoids following maternal stress with changes in the expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes in response to maternal glucocorticoid exposure or asthma. Among males there was some evidence of altered diurnal cortisol secretion. We conclude that although there is some evidence of male vulnerability leading to altered diurnal cortisol secretion, the female HPA axis is more vulnerable to programming, particularly in terms of its reactivity; this suggests a mechanism underlying sex differences in later-life diseases.
Article
Sex differences in stress responses can be found at all stages of life and are related to both the organizational and activational effects of gonadal hormones and to genes on the sex chromosomes. As stress dysregulation is the most common feature across neuropsychiatric diseases, sex differences in how these pathways develop and mature may predict sex-specific periods of vulnerability to disruption and increased disease risk or resilience across the lifespan. The aging brain is also at risk to the effects of stress, where the rapid decline of gonadal hormones in women combined with cellular aging processes promote sex biases in stress dysregulation. In this Review, we discuss potential underlying mechanisms driving sex differences in stress responses and their relevance to disease. Although stress is involved in a much broader range of diseases than neuropsychiatric ones, we highlight here this area and its examples across the lifespan.
Article
Social learning and exchange concepts and principles were utilized to generate a set of hypotheses concerning the determinants of parenting practices. The explanatory constructs involved parents' values, beliefs about parenting, perceptions of the child, level of depression, marital satisfaction, education, and degree of financial distress. The predictions were tested with a sample of 61 families, each of which included a 7th grader. Self-report measures were employed to measure the explanatory variables, while coders' ratings of videotaped family interaction served as measures of parenting behavior. The results largely support the hypotheses. In general, the findings indicate that the determinants of parenting differ somewhat by sex and that different factors predict constructive versus destructive parenting practices.
Article
This review examines mechanisms contributing to the intergenerational transmission of self-regulation. To provide an integrated account of how self-regulation is transmitted across generations, we draw from over 75 years of accumulated evidence, spanning case studies to experimental approaches, in literatures covering developmental, social, and clinical psychology, and criminology, physiology, genetics, and human and animal neuroscience (among others). First, we present a taxonomy of what self-regulation is and then examine how it develops-overviews that guide the main foci of the review. Next, studies supporting an association between parent and child self-regulation are reviewed. Subsequently, literature that considers potential social mechanisms of transmission, specifically parenting behavior, interparental (i.e., marital) relationship behaviors, and broader rearing influences (e.g., household chaos) is considered. Finally, evidence that prenatal programming may be the starting point of the intergenerational transmission of self-regulation is covered, along with key findings from the behavioral and molecular genetics literatures. To integrate these literatures, we introduce the self-regulation intergenerational transmission model, a framework that brings together prenatal, social/contextual, and neurobiological mechanisms (spanning endocrine, neural, and genetic levels, including gene-environment interplay and epigenetic processes) to explain the intergenerational transmission of self-regulation. This model also incorporates potential transactional processes between generations (e.g., children's self-regulation and parent- child interaction dynamics that may affect parents' self-regulation) that further influence intergenerational processes. In pointing the way forward, we note key future directions and ways to address limitations in existing work throughout the review and in closing. We also conclude by noting several implications for intervention work.
Article
The present study attempts to determine the factorial validity of scores on the Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment in a normative population of mothers and their 12-month-old infants. Parent, child, and dyadic items scored from free play interactions were analyzed as separate components of the instrument. Scores on three parent, three infant, and two dyadic subscales were examined for reliability and convergent and discriminant validity using confirmatory factor analysis. To provide confidence in the results, a factorial invariance study using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using a separate sample. All subscale scores demonstrated high levels of internal consistency, with coefficients ranging from .75 to .96. Evidence was also found for convergent and discriminant validity.
Article
Subjects often drop out of longitudinal studies prematurely, yielding unbalanced data with unequal numbers of measures for each subject. Modern software programs for handling unbalanced longitudinal data improve on methods that discard the incomplete cases by including all the data, but also yield biased inferences under plausible models for the drop-out process. This article discusses methods that simultaneously model the data and the drop-out process within a unified model-based framework. Models are classified into two broad classes—random-coefficient selection models and random-coefficient pattern-mixture models—depending on how the joint distribution of the data and drop-out mechanism is factored. Inference is likelihood-based, via maximum likelihood or Bayesian methods. A number of examples in the literature are placed in this framework, and possible extensions outlined. Data collection on the nature of the drop-out process is advocated to guide the choice of model. In cases where the drop-out mechanism is not well understood, sensitivity analyses are suggested to assess the effect on inferences about target quantities of alternative assumptions about the drop-out process.
Article
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.
Article
Simple slopes, regions of significance, and confidence bands are commonly used to evaluate interactions in multiple linear regression (MLR) models, and the use of these techniques has recently been extended to multilevel or hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and latent curve analysis (LCA). However, conducting these tests and plotting the conditional relations is often a tedious and error-prone task. This article provides an overview of methods used to probe interaction effects and describes a unified collection of freely available online resources that researchers can use to obtain significance tests for simple slopes, compute regions of significance, and obtain confidence bands for simple slopes across the range of the moderator in the MLR, HLM, and LCA contexts. Plotting capabilities are also provided.
Article
Statistical procedures for missing data have vastly improved, yet misconception and unsound practice still abound. The authors frame the missing-data problem, review methods, offer advice, and raise issues that remain unresolved. They clear up common misunderstandings regarding the missing at random (MAR) concept. They summarize the evidence against older procedures and, with few exceptions, discourage their use. They present, in both technical and practical language, 2 general approaches that come highly recommended: maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian multiple imputation (MI). Newer developments are discussed, including some for dealing with missing data that are not MAR. Although not yet in the mainstream, these procedures may eventually extend the ML and MI methods that currently represent the state of the art. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study analyzed the stability of individual differences in temperament and the convergence between two kinds of measures used to assess temperament: maternal report (IBQ and TBAQ), and laboratory measures. Sixty children were assessed at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age and their mothers' reports were collected at the same time. Mothers' perceptions of their children's temperament showed high stability across the range of children's ages. In laboratory, however, moderate stability was found only for the period between 9 and 12 months. Convergence between laboratory and maternal report measures was found at 6 and 12 months. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Behavior-state matching and synchrony in interactions were assessed in 48 depressed and nondepressed mother–infant dyads when the infants were 3 months old. Attentive/affective behavior states were coded for the infants and mothers on a negative to positive scale. The depressed mothers and their infants matched negative behavior states more often and positive behavior states less often than did the nondepressed dyads. The total percentage of time spent in matching behavior states was less for the depressed than for the nondepressed dyads. Cross-spectral analyses of the mothers' and the infants' behavior-state time series suggested only a trend for greater coherence or synchrony in the interactions of the nondepressed dyads. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Presents evidence from an exploratory longitudinal study showing how parent–child transactions, family characteristics, and characteristics of the physical environment can act to modify both the child's temperament and changes in that temperament over time. Two tentative predictions were that infants from households with lower rooms-to-persons ratio and with greater noise-confusion will be more emotionally negative; and the relation between the infants' home environmental measures and emotionality will be especially manifest in boys. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The means used by young children to control their own emotions has received scant attention in the developmental literature. However, this competency represents an important aspect of developmental growth. This article emphasizes regulation of distress and negative emotions. It focuses on (a) the principles that underlie regulation of distress and negative emotions among infants and young children and (b) developmental trends that occur during the first few years of life. The role of caregivers is discussed as well. A goal is to offer ideas that lend themselves to hypothesis testing and empirical validation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The relation between measures of heart period and vagal tone and infant reactivity was investigated in a longitudinal study of infants from birth to 5 months of age. At 2 days of age, electrocardiogram (EKG) was recorded and a pacifier-withdrawal task was administered. At 5 months of age, EKG was recorded, after which infants and mothers participated in a laboratory session designed to elicit positive and negative reactivity. Maternal ratings of 5-month infant temperament were also obtained. There was a significant concurrent relation between 5-month vagal tone and negative reactivity elicited in the laboratory and maternal ratings of activity level and smiling behavior. Newborn vagal tone predicted maternal ratings of frustration and fear. Moderate stability was found for infant reactivity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Mothers of about 100 toddlers at 12, 18, and 24 months completed the Toddler Temperament Scale. Three other data sets were also available: (a) factors representing lab observations; (b) measures of the mothers who completed the Thurstone Temperament Schedule and ratings made by a social worker of the mother's home; and (c) home measures from Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment and the Family Environment Scale. Direct correlations between the first principal component factor from the Toddler Temperament Scale and the corresponding component from the lab factor were .50, .36, .52, at 12, 18, and 24 months, respectively. Maternal characteristics—emotional stability and social dominance—from the Thurstone Temperament Schedule were related to maternal ratings of the toddler on the Toddler Temperament Scale at all ages ( rs = .25 to .46). There were only a few low-order correlations from environmental characteristics. A regression analysis, with lab factors entered first, indicated that, after the lab component was extracted, maternal temperament made a modest but significant contribution to maternal reports of toddler temperament. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Studied the effect of maternal emotions during the pregnancy in 30 of 70 nulliparous women (age 18–30 yrs) with varying levels of anxiety. Emotions were studied during each pregnancy trimester and in the 1st, 10th, and 28th wk after birth, using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. During pregnancy Ss were tested for a number of variables, including social support, coping abilities, personality, and pregnancy anxiety, in addition to the administration of the Maternal–Fetal Attachment Scale. After birth, Ss answered questionnaires on the birth experience and the behavior of the neonates. Maternal emotions had a small but significant effect on occurrence and duration of fetal motor activity. Fetuses of women with high anxiety tended to be more active than fetuses of women with low anxiety. The prenatal influence was reflected in neonatal behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The present study investigated the relation of the physical environment to toddler and parent temperament. Measurement of the physical environment offers a unique way of disentangling environmental influences on temperament from child influences on the environment. Subjects were 82 12-month-old toddlers. The physical environment was assessed during six separate home observations, using codes from the Purdue Home Stimulation Inventory. Toddler temperament was measured by the Toddler Temperament Scale, and maternal temperament was assessed with the revised Dimensions of Temperament Scale. Results indicated that measures of crowding and availability of objects and visual stimuli were most consistently related to specific dimensions of toddler temperament. Relations between physical environment and maternal temperament were inconsistent. Partialling out maternal temperament did not substantially change observed relations between the physical environment and toddler temperament. Implications of these findings for our understanding of environmental contributions to the expression of temperament are discussed.
Article
Effortful control (EC) refers to the ability to inhibit a dominant response to perform a subdominant one and has been shown as protective against a myriad of difficulties. Research examining precursors of EC has been limited to date, and in this study, infancy contributors to toddler EC were examined. Specifically, parent/family background variables (e.g., education, income), maternal temperament, perceived stress, and internalizing symptoms were addressed, along with infant temperament: positive affectivity/surgency (PAS), negative emotionality (NE), and regulatory capacity/orienting (RCO); and laboratory observation‐based indicators of attention. Infant attention indexed by the latency to look away after initially orienting to the presented stimuli emerged as an important predictor of later EC, after accounting for other child and parent/family attributes, with shorter latencies predicting higher levels of EC. Mothers’ extraversion and parenting stress were the only parent/family attributes to significantly contribute to the prediction of toddler EC, with the former promoting and the latter undermining the development of EC. Infant temperament factors were also examined as a moderator of parent/family influences, with results indicating a significant interaction between mothers’ EC and infant RCO, so that children with greater RCO and mothers high in EC exhibited the highest EC scores in toddlerhood.
Article
This study examined the role of child gender in fathers' and mothers' sensitivity to and attachment relationships with their infants from a family systems perspective. Eighty-seven 1-year-olds participated in the Strange Situation with each parent. Parental sensitivity was examined during a competing demands task. Results indicated that fathers and mothers were equally sensitive to sons, but fathers were less sensitive than mothers to daughters, and mothers were more sensitive to daughters than to sons. Although mothers and fathers within the same families were similarly sensitive to daughters and sons, daughters' attachment security with fathers and mothers was similar whereas sons' was not. Further analyses revealed that fathers were more sensitive to sons with an insecure relationship with their mothers. Results of this investigation suggest that child gender is relevant for parent–infant, especially father–infant, attachment relationships. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The goal of this study was to examine the effect of excessive crying in early infancy on the development of emotion self-regulation. Cry diaries were used to categorize excessive criers and typical criers at 6 weeks of age. At 5 and 10 months of age, infants and mothers participated in procedures to elicit infant reactivity and regulation during a frustration task and maternal sensitivity and intrusiveness during a free-play session. Last, maternal ratings of temperament were obtained. Results revealed excessive criers to show higher levels of negative reactivity than typical criers. Excessive criers also demonstrated lower regulation, but this finding was only significant for male infants. Boys in the excessive criers group exhibited the lowest level of emotion self-regulation. Maternal behavior and ratings of temperament at 5 and 10 months failed to distinguish the 2 cry groups. The findings suggest that excessive crying may influence the developmental trajectory of the ability of boys to self-regulate emotion. The hypothesized processes involved in this outcome are discussed.