Self-regulation of negative affect at 5 and 10 months

Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA.
Developmental Psychobiology (Impact Factor: 3.31). 03/2012; 54(2):215-21. DOI: 10.1002/dev.20584
Source: PubMed


One hundred six infants participated in a longitudinal study of cognition-emotion integration exploring the effects of attentional control on regulation of negative affect across infancy. At both 5 and 10 months, attentional control was measured behaviorally (looking time to neutral stimulus), physiologically (cardiac reactivity), and with temperament-based parental ratings of orienting/regulation. Looking and cardiac measures were examined both before and after a mild stressor. At 5 months, post-distress negative affect was related only to distress-related increases in heart rate. At 10 months, however, behavioral, cardiac, and parent-report aspects of attentional control explained unique variance in post-distress negative affect. Attentional control measures at 5 months did not predict negative affect at 10 months. This pattern of results is discussed with respect to the development of frontally mediated regulatory mechanisms from infancy into early childhood.

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    • "The notion that individual variation in AC should longitudinally predict pathological fear is consistent with a central prediction of AC theory: that degraded AC processes should be a primary cognitive vulnerability factor for the development and maintenance of pathological forms of anxiety, because chronic reductions in a limited-capacity resource such as the executive control of attention may subsequently and consistently impair one's ability to deploy coping resources in response to a stressor (Coombes, Higgins, Gamble, Cauraugh, & Janelle, 2009; Eysenck et al., 2007). While no studies have directly tested this hypothesis, a small number of previous reports have evaluated similar questions, by assessing the longitudinal impact of AC on general affective functioning (Belsky, Pasco Fearon, & Bell, 2007; Busch & Hofer, 2012; Morasch & Bell, 2012; Morrison & Heimberg, 2013; Posner & Rothbart, 2009). For example, Belsky, Pasco Fearon, and Bell (2007) reported data from a large-scale longitudinal study of childcare and youth development, in which AC was found to partially mediate the effects of parenting on externalizing problems in youth. "
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    • "Mothers sat in a chair beside the child and did not interact with the child during the recording. This is our typical baseline for toddler and preschooler electrophysiology research (e.g., Cuevas, Raj, & Bell, 2012; Morasch & Bell, 2012). "
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