Frank Vitaro

Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (392)1124.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study examined whether social contagion of anxiety symptoms is present between siblings during early adolescence and whether this process is moderated by sex, relationship quality, and zygosity. Based on 634 monozygotic and dizygotic twins (336 females) assessed in Grades 6 and 7, anxiety symptoms and sibling relationship quality were measured with self-report questionnaires. The predictive association of the co-twin's level of anxiety with adolescents' own increased anxiety 1 year later was only observed in same-sex twin dyads (monozygotic and dizygotic) and was higher for those who perceived a higher level of relationship quality with their co-twin. Raising awareness of a possible sibling contagion of anxiety may be useful for preventing the development of anxiety symptoms in youth.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Journal of Research on Adolescence

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2016
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine whether short sleep duration is associated with poor receptive vocabulary at age 10 years. In the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, parents reported their children's nocturnal sleep duration annually from ages 2.5 to 10 years, and children were assessed for receptive vocabulary using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Revised (PPVT-R) at ages 4 and 10 years. Groups with distinct nocturnal sleep duration trajectories were identified and the relationships between sleep trajectories and poor PPVT-R performance were characterized. In all, 1192 children with available sleep duration and PPVT-R data participated in this epidemiological study. We identified four longitudinal nocturnal sleep trajectories: short persistent sleepers (n = 72, 6.0%), short increasing sleepers (n = 47, 3.9%), 10-h sleepers (n = 628, 52.7%) and 11-h sleepers (n = 445, 37.3%). In all, 14.8% of the children showed poor PPVT-R performance at age 10 years. Nocturnal sleep trajectories and poor PPVT-R performance at age 10 were associated significantly (P = 0.003). After adjusting for baseline receptive vocabulary performance at age 4 and other potential confounding variables, logistic regression analyses suggest that, compared to 11-h sleepers, the odds ratio of presenting poor receptive vocabulary at age 10 was 2.67 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.24–5.74, P = 0.012] for short persistent sleepers and 1.66 (95% CI: 1.06–2.59, P = 0.026) for 10-h sleepers. These results corroborate previous findings in early childhood, and indicate that short sleep duration is associated with poor receptive vocabulary during middle childhood.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Sleep Research
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: By and large, studies have reported moderate contributions of genetic factors to cortisol secreted in the early morning and even smaller estimates later in the day. In contrast, the cortisol awakening response (CAR) has shown much stronger heritability estimates, which prompted the hypothesis that the etiology of cortisol secretion may vary according to the time of day. A direct test of this possibility has, however, not yet been performed. Objective: To describe the specific and common etiology of the CAR, awakening level and cortisol change from morning to evening in an age-homogenous sample of twin adolescents. Methods: A total of 592 participants of the Québec Newborn Twin Study, a population-based 1995-1998 cohort of families with twins in Canada, have collected saliva at awakening, 30min later, at the end of afternoon and in the evening over four collection days. Results: Multivariate Cholesky models showed both specific and common sources of variance between the CAR, awakening and cortisol diurnal change. The CAR had the strongest heritability estimates, which, for the most part, did not overlap with the other indicators. Conversely, similar magnitudes of genetic and environmental contributions were detected at awakening and for diurnal change, which partially overlapped. Conclusion: Our study unraveled differences between the latent etiologies of the CAR and the rest of the diurnal cycle, which may contribute to identify regulatory genes and environments and detangle how these indicators each relate to physical and mental health.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To test whether adolescents who are victimized by peers are at heightened risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, using both cross-sectional and prospective investigations. Method: Participants are from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, a general population sample of children born in Quebec in 1997 through 1998 and followed up until 15 years of age. Information about victimization and serious suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in the past year was obtained at ages 13 and 15 years from self-reports (N = 1,168). Results: Victims reported concurrently higher rates of suicidal ideation at age 13 years (11.6-14.7%) and suicide attempt at age 15 years (5.4-6.8%) compared to those who had not been victimized (2.7-4.1% for suicidal ideation and 1.6-1.9% for suicide attempt). Being victimized by peers at 13 years predicted suicidal ideation (odds ratio [OR] = 2.27; 95% CI = 1.25-4.12) and suicide attempt (OR = 3.05, 95% CI = 1.36-6.82) 2 years later, even after adjusting for baseline suicidality and mental health problems and a series of confounders (socioeconomic status, intelligence, family's functioning and structure, hostile-reactive parenting, maternal lifetime suicidal ideation/suicide attempt). Those who were victimized at both 13 and 15 years had the highest risk of suicidal ideation (OR = 5.41, 95% CI = 2.53-11.53) and suicide attempt (OR = 5.85, 95% CI = 2.12-16.18) at 15 years. Conclusion: Victimization is associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt over and above concurrent suicidality and prior mental health problems. The longer the history of victimization, the greater the risk.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Background The monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene has been shown to moderate the impact of maltreatment on antisocial behaviour. Replication efforts have, however, yielded inconsistent results.AimsTo investigate whether the interaction between the MAOA gene and violence is present across the full distribution of violence or emerges at higher levels of exposure.Method Participants were 327 male members of the Québec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children. Exposure to violence comprised retrospective reports of mother's and father's maltreatment, sexual and physical abuse. Conduct disorder and antisocial personality symptoms were assessed in semi-structured interviews and partner violence, property-violent crimes and arrest were self-reported.ResultsNon-linear interactions between the MAOA gene and violence were detected, suggesting that the genetic moderation may come about once a certain level of violence is experienced.Conclusions Future studies should investigate the mechanisms translating substantial violence exposure, which could, subsequently, trigger the expression of genetically based differences in antisocial behaviour.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science
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    DESCRIPTION: This study examined the associations between intrinsic motivation and achievement in mathematics in a sample of 1478 Canadian school-age children followed from grades 1 to 4 (age 7-10). Children self-reported their intrinsic motivation toward mathematics, whereas achievement was measured through direct assessment of mathematics abilities. Cross-lagged models showed that achievement predicted intrinsic motivation from grades 1 to 2, and from grades 2 to 4. However, intrinsic motivation did not predict achievement at any time. This developmental pattern of association was gender invariant. Contrary to the hypothesis that motivation and achievement are reciprocally associated over time, our results point to a directional association from prior achievement to subsequent intrinsic motivation. Results are discussed in light of their theoretical and practical implications.
    Full-text · Research · Sep 2015

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal and early postnatal adversities have been shown to be associated with brain development. However, we do not know how much of this association is confounded by genetics, nor whether the postnatal environment can moderate the impact of in utero adversity. This study used a monozygotic (MZ) twin design to assess (1) the association between birth weight (BW) and brain volume in adolescence, (2) the association between within-twin-pair BW discordance and brain volume discordance in adolescence, and (3) whether the association between BW and brain volume in adolescence is mediated or moderated by early negative maternal parenting behaviours. These associations were assessed in a sample of 108 MZ twins followed longitudinally since birth and scanned at age 15. The total grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes were obtained using the Diffeomorphic Anatomical Registration Through Exponentiated Lie Algebra (DARTEL) toolbox in the Statistical Parametric Mapping version 8 (SPM8). We found that the BW was significantly associated with the total GM and WM volumes, particularly in the superior frontal gyrus and thalamus. Within-twin-pair discordance in BW was also significantly associated with within-pair discordance in both the GM and the WM volumes, supporting the hypothesis that the specific in utero environment is associated with brain development independently of genetics. Early maternal hostile parenting behaviours and depressive symptoms were associated with total GM volume but not WM volume. Finally, greater early maternal hostility may moderate the association between the BW and GM volume in adolescence, since the positive association between the BW and total GM volume appeared stronger at higher levels of maternal hostility (trend). Together, these findings support the importance of the in utero and early environments for brain development. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Developmental Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate trajectories of gambling variety from mid-adolescence to age 30, and compare the different trajectory-groups with regard to the type and the frequency of gambling activities practiced, and gambling-related problems. Prospective longitudinal cohort study. Province of Quebec, Canada. A mixed-gender general population cohort assessed at ages 15 (N = 1882), 22 (N = 1785), and 30 (N = 1358). Adolescent and adult versions of the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Group-based trajectory analysis identified three distinct trajectories: A Late-onset Low trajectory (26.7% of sample) initiating gambling at age-22, an Early-onset Low trajectory (64.8% of sample), characterized by 1-2 different activities from age-15 onwards, and a High trajectory (8.4% of sample), with an average of 4-5 different activities from age 15 to 30. Males (14.2%) were 4 times more likely to be on a High-trajectory than females (3.5%) (p < .001). Preferred types of gambling activities were similar across the three trajectories. Participants on a High-trajectory reported higher gambling frequency at ages 15 and 30, and were more likely to experience problem gambling at age 30: 3.09 (95%CI = 1.66, 5.75) and 2.26 (95%CI = 1.27, 4.04) times more, respectively, than Late-onset Low and Early-onset Low participants, even when socioeconomic status (SES), frequency of gambling and problem gambling in adolescence, gender, age-30 education, SES, and frequency of gambling, were controlled. Engaging in several different types of gambling in early adulthood appears to be a risk factor for emergence of problem gambling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Addiction
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the contribution of nonparental child-care services received during the preschool years to the development of social behavior between kindergarten and the end of elementary school with a birth cohort from Québec, Canada (N = 1,544). Mothers reported on the use of child-care services, while elementary school teachers rated children's shyness, social withdrawal, prosociality, opposition, and aggression. Children who received nonparental child-care services were less shy, less socially withdrawn, more oppositional, and more aggressive at school entry (age 6 years). However, these differences disappeared during elementary school as children who received exclusive parental care caught up with those who received nonparental care services. This “catch-up” effect from the perspective of children's adaptation to the social group is discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Child Development
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of gambling starting before adulthood in the general population are either cross-sectional, based on the stability of these behaviors between 2 time points, or cover a short developmental period. The present study aimed at investigating the developmental trajectories of gambling problems across 3 key periods of development, mid-adolescence, early adulthood, and age 30, in a mixed-gender cohort from the general population. Using a semiparametric mixture model, trajectories were computed based on self-reports collected at ages 15 (N = 1,882), 22 (N = 1,785), and 30 (N = 1,358). Two distinct trajectories were identified: 1 trajectory including males and females who were unlikely to have experienced gambling problems across the 15-year period, and 1 trajectory including participants likely to have experienced at least 1 problem over the last 12 months at each time of assessment. Participants following a high trajectory were predominantly male, participated frequently in 3 to 4 different gambling activities, and were more likely to report substance use and problems related to their alcohol and drug consumption at age 30. Thus, gambling problems in the general population are already observable at age 15 in a small group of individuals, who maintain some level of these problems through early adulthood, before moderately but significantly desisting by age 30, while also experiencing other addictive behaviors and related problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
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    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about why people differ in their levels of academic motivation. This study explored the etiology of individual differences in enjoyment and self-perceived ability for several school subjects in nearly 13,000 twins aged 9–16 from 6 countries. The results showed a striking consistency across ages, school subjects, and cultures. Contrary to common belief, enjoyment of learning and children’s perceptions of their competence were no less heritable than cognitive ability. Genetic factors explained approximately 40% of the variance and all of the observed twins’ similarity in academic motivation. Shared environmental factors, such as home or classroom, did not contribute to the twin’s similarity in academic motivation. Environmental influences stemmed entirely from individual specific experiences.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Personality and Individual Differences
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    ABSTRACT: The timing and mechanisms underlying the development of psychopathic traits in children is a critical topic in psychopathy research. The present study sought to examine psychopathic traits in children, ages 5.5 to 8.5, using items which were included in multiple waves of a large longitudinal study of approximately 900 community children, the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD/ ELDEQ). Items were selected from the ELDEQ battery that corresponded to the items on the Psychopathy Checklist – Youth Version (PCL: YV) for 12 to 18 year old youth. Exploratory factor analyses using a Geomin rotation and the WLSMV estimator revealed a stable, well-fitting two-factor model at each of the three age points, ranging from approximately 5.5 to 8.5 years of age (68-80 months, 80-92 months, and 92-104 months). However, items did not correspond directly to the two-factor model of Psychopathy Checklist psychopathy, in which Factor One contains interpersonal and affective features and Factor Two captures antisocial and behavior symptoms. The first factor in the current model contains items involving affective, interpersonal, and lifestyle (and two antisocial) items, while the second factor consists of items measuring aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Current findings suggest that psychopathic traits are moderately stable between the ages of 5.5 and 8.5. This measure of psychopathic traits may have implications for the future recognition and treatment of young children by aiding in early detection of psychopathic traits.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms underlying the development of psychopathic traits in children are not well understood. In opposition to the emotion deficit hypotheses, the affect dysregulation theory posits that many children who later develop psychopathic traits experience substantial negative affect early in development but learn to block or tune out their emotional experiences. Such a process leads to the development of callous, unemotional traits and corresponding antisocial behavior. The present study sought to test this developmental trajectory by examining negative affect in approximately 900 toddlers, ages 17 months and 29 months of age, and later psychopathic traits in children, ages 5.5 to 8.5. Using data from the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD/ ELDEQ), items were selected that appeared to correspond to constructs measured by the Psychopathy Checklist – Youth Version (PCL: YV) and examined using an exploratory factor analysis; a nineteen item, two- factor model provided the best fit. The first factor in the model consisted of items describing primarily affective, interpersonal, and lifestyle traits associated with psychopathy, whereas the second factor consisted of items describing antisocial and aggressive behaviors related to the antisocial facet of psychopathy. A measure of negative affect was constructed using items from the Emotional Disorder Scale utilized in the ELDEQ study. A structural equation model revealed that negative affective experiences at 29 months predicted scores on the second factor of psychopathic traits (aggressive and antisocial behavior) at seven years of age (b = 0.145, p = 0.042). However, negative affect did not predict scores on the first factor of psychopathic traits. An RMSEA of 0.028 and a CFI of 0.939 indicate an adequate fitting model. Contradictory to emotional deficit perspectives, these findings suggest that young children with conduct problems likely experience negative emotions as other children do. These findings suggest that children characterized by early antisocial behavior and aggression during middle childhood also have relatively higher levels of negative emotion earlier in life. Although these results partially corroborate the affect dysregulation theory, it is important to keep in mind that many analyses revealed no relationships between psychopathy and negative affect in this community sample.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The timing and mechanisms underlying the development of psychopathic traits in children is a critical topic in psychopathy research. The present study sought to examine psychopathic traits in children, ages 5.5 to 8.5, using items which were included in multiple waves of a large longitudinal study of approximately 900 community children, the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD/ ELDEQ). Items were selected from the ELDEQ battery that corresponded to the items on the Psychopathy Checklist – Youth Version (PCL: YV) for 12 to 18 year old youth. Exploratory factor analyses using a Geomin rotation and the WLSMV estimator revealed a stable, well-fitting one-factor model at each of the three age points, ranging from approximately 5.5 to 8.5 years of age (68-80 months, 80-92 months, and 92-104 months). Current findings suggest that psychopathic traits are moderately stable between the ages of 5.5 and 8.5. This measure of psychopathic traits may have implications for the future recognition and treatment of young children by aiding in early detection of psychopathic traits.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Temperament and parental practices (PP) are important predictors of adolescent alcohol use (AU); however, less is known about how they combine to increase or decrease risk of AU. This study examined whether age 6 temperament (i.e., impulsivity and inhibitory control) interacted with age 6 coercive PP and/or age 14 parental monitoring to predict AU at 15 years among 209 adolescents. Results showed that low parental monitoring was associated with more frequent AU and that coercive PP interacted with impulsivity to predict AU. This interaction was examined as a function of two models that were not studied before in the prediction of AU: the diathesis–stress model (i.e., impulsive children are more “vulnerable” to adverse PP than those with an easy temperament); and the differential susceptibility model (i.e., impulsive children are also more likely to benefit from good PP). Results supported the differential susceptibility model by showing that impulsive children were not only at higher risk for AU when combined with high coercive PP but also benefit from the absence of coercive PP. This supports the suggestion that the conception of certain temperament characteristics, or in this case impulsivity, as a “vulnerability” for adolescent AU, may need revision because it misrepresents the malleability it may imply.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Development and Psychopathology
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    ABSTRACT: In both adolescents and adults, gambling problems and depressive symptoms co-occur and share some common risk factors (e.g., impulsivity and socio-family risk). However, little is known about (1) the developmental course of the co-morbidity of these problems; (2) variables that may moderate the effect of these common risk factors on gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Of specific interest could be individuals' social relationships with significant others such as parents and friends, because research shows that they moderate the effect of other risk factors on gambling problems and depressive symptoms. The goals of this study were to: (a) identify developmental pathways for gambling problems and depressive symptoms, with a focus on co-morbidity; (b) assess the moderating effect of relationship quality with parents and friends on the link between common risk factors and the trajectories of gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Study participants were 878 males. Predictors were assessed during childhood and adolescence and gambling problems and depressive symptoms were assessed in late adolescence and young adulthood. Latent class analysis revealed four distinct joint trajectories of gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Subsequent logistic regression revealed that impulsivity predicted membership in all pathogenic trajectories, and quality of the relationship with parents predicted membership in depressogenic trajectories. In addition, we found that the membership in the comorbid trajectory can be predicted by an interaction between friendship quality and socio-family risk.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Gambling Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have shown that aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behaviors are important precursors of later adjustment problems. There is also strong empirical evidence that both types of antisocial behavior are partially influenced by genetic factors. However, despite its important theoretical and practical implications, no study has examined the question whether environmental factors differentially moderate the expression of genetic influences on the two types of antisocial behavior. Using a genetically informed design based on 266 monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, this study examined whether the expression of genetic risk for aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior varies depending on the peer group's injunctive norms (i.e., the degree of acceptability) of each type of antisocial behavior. Self-reported aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior and classroom-based sociometric nominations were collected when participants were 10 years old. Multivariate genetic analyses revealed some common genetic factors influencing both types of antisocial behavior (i.e., general antisocial behavior) as well as genetic influences specific to non-aggressive antisocial behavior. However, genetic influences on general antisocial behavior, as well as specific genetic influences on non-aggressive antisocial behavior, vary depending on the injunctive classroom norms regarding these behaviors. These findings speak to the power of peer group norms in shaping aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior. They also contribute further to understanding the distinctive development of both types of antisocial behavior. Finally, they may have important implications for prevention purposes.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Publication Stats

12k Citations
1,124.56 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004-2015
    • Université du Québec à Montréal
      • Department of Psychology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1995-2015
    • McGill University
      • Department of Psychology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1991-2015
    • Université de Montréal
      • School of Psycho-Education
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2011
    • CHU Sainte-Justine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1999-2010
    • Laval University
      • School of Psychology
      Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • 2006-2007
    • VU University Amsterdam
      • Department of Developmental Psychology
      Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2005
    • The University of Winnipeg
      • Department of Economics
      Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 2001
    • Carnegie Mellon University
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2000-2001
    • Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal
      • Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    • University of Jyväskylä
      • Department of Psychology
      Jyväskylä, Province of Western Finland, Finland
  • 1988
    • Université du Québec
      Québec, Quebec, Canada