Individual Differences in Newborn Visual Attention Associate with Temperament and Behavioral Difficulties in Later Childhood.
ABSTRACT: Recently it was shown that individual differences in attention style in infants are associated with childhood effortful control, surgency, and hyperactivity-inattention. Here we investigated whether effortful control, surgency and behavioral problems in childhood can be predicted even earlier, from individual differences in newborns' average duration of gaze to stimuli. Eighty newborns participated in visual preference and habituation studies. Parents completed questionnaires at follow up (mean age?=?7.5 years, SD?=?1.0 year). Newborns' average dwell time was negatively associated with childhood surgency (??=?-.25, R(2)?=?.04, p?=?.02) and total behavioral difficulties (??=?-.28, R(2)?=?.05, p?=?.04) but not with effortful control (??=?.03, R(2)?=?.001, p?=?.76). Individual differences in newborn visual attention significantly associated with individual variation in childhood surgency and behavioral problems, showing that some of the factors responsible for this variation are present at birth.
Project description:Individual differences in social-emotional functioning emerge early and have long-term implications for developmental adaptation and competency. Research is needed that specifies multiple early risk factors and outcomes simultaneously to demonstrate specificity. Using multigroup longitudinal path analysis in a sample of typically developing children (N = 541), we examined child temperament dimensions (surgency, negative affectivity, and regulation/effortful control) and maternal anxiety in infancy and age 2 as predictors of child externalizing, internalizing, dysregulation, and competence behaviors at age 3. Four primary patterns emerged. First, there was stability in temperament dimensions and maternal anxiety from infancy to age 3. Second, negative affectivity was implicated in internalizing problems and surgency in externalizing problems. Third, effortful control at age 2 was a potent mediator of maternal anxiety in infancy on age 3 outcomes. Fourth, there was suggestive evidence for transactional effects between maternal anxiety and child effortful control. Most pathways operated similarly for boys and girls, with some differences, particularly for surgency. These findings expand our understanding of the roles of specific temperamental domains and postnatal maternal anxiety in a range of social-emotional outcomes in the preschool period, and have implications for efforts to enhance the development of young children's social-emotional functioning and reduce risk for later psychopathology.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Individual differences in the temperamental dimension of effortful control are constitutionally based and have been associated with an adverse prenatal developmental environment, with structural brain alterations presenting a potential mechanism. We investigated this hypothesis for anatomically defined brain regions implicated in cognitive and inhibitory motor control. METHODS:Twenty-seven 15-16 year old participants with low, medium, or high fetal growth were selected from a longitudinal birth cohort to maximize variation and represent the full normal spectrum of fetal growth. Outcome measures were parent ratings of attention and inhibitory control, thickness and surface area of the orbitofrontal cortex (lateral (LOFC) and medial (MOFC)) and right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), and volumetric measures of the striatum and amygdala. RESULTS:Lower birth weight was associated with lower inhibitory control, smaller surface area of LOFC, MOFC and rIFG, lower caudate volume, and thicker MOFC. A mediation model found a significant indirect effect of birth weight on inhibitory control via caudate volume. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings support a neuroanatomical mechanism underlying potential long-term consequences of an adverse fetal developmental environment for behavioral inhibitory control in adolescence and have implications for understanding putative prenatal developmental origins of externalizing behavioral problems and self-control.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Although temperament has been recognized as an important contributor to childhood psychopathology, its role in emergent autism spectrum phenotypes is not well understood. This study examined whether toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display temperamental vulnerabilities compared to toddlers with other developmental challenges, whether these characteristics are distinct from core autism symptoms, if they are stable over time, and if they contribute to social outcomes in preschool. METHODS:Parents of 165 toddlers with ASD, 58 nonverbal ability- and chronological age- (CA) matched developmentally delayed (DD) toddlers, and 92 CA-matched typically developing (TD) toddlers completed the Toddler Behavior Assessment Questionnaire-Supplemental (TBAQ-S) at 26 months (SD = 6; Time 1). TBAQ-S data were also available for a subset of toddlers with ASD (n = 126) at 43 months (SD = 9; Time 2). RESULTS:Compared to the DD and TD groups, toddlers with ASD exhibited vulnerabilities within the Effortful Control domain as well as the Surgency domain. They also displayed greater Negative Emotionality compared to TD peers. In the ASD group, temperamental characteristics were not concurrently related to autism severity or developmental level and individual differences were highly stable over time. Changes in Perceptual Sensitivity, Inhibitory Control, and Low-Intensity Pleasure from age 2 to 3.5 uniquely predicted autism symptom severity and adaptive social skill level at Time 2. CONCLUSIONS:Temperamental vulnerabilities in toddlers with ASD are stable over time and involve attentional and behavioral control as well as affective reactivity. They contribute uniquely to social outcomes in preschool and are likely to signal risk for developing later maladaptive attentional, affective, and behavioral symptoms. Considering biologically based dimensions may shed light on noncore facets of the early ASD phenotype that are potentially relevant to the emergence of comorbid conditions later in childhood.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding the dynamics of the gut-brain axis has clinical implications for physical and mental health conditions, including obesity and anxiety. As such disorders have early life antecedents, it is of value to determine if associations between the gut microbiome and behavior are present in early life in humans. METHODS:We used next generation pyrosequencing to examine associations between the community structure of the gut microbiome and maternal ratings of child temperament in 77 children at 18-27months of age. It was hypothesized that children would differ in their gut microbial structure, as indicated by measures of alpha and beta diversity, based on their temperamental characteristics. RESULTS:Among both boys and girls, greater Surgency/Extraversion was associated greater phylogenetic diversity. In addition, among boys only, subscales loading on this composite scale were associated with differences in phylogenetic diversity, the Shannon Diversity index (SDI), beta diversity, and differences in abundances of Dialister, Rikenellaceae, Ruminococcaceae, and Parabacteroides. In girls only, higher Effortful Control was associated with a lower SDI score and differences in both beta diversity and Rikenellaceae were observed in relation to Fear. Some differences in dietary patterns were observed in relation to temperament, but these did not account for the observed differences in the microbiome. CONCLUSIONS:Differences in gut microbiome composition, including alpha diversity, beta diversity, and abundances of specific bacterial species, were observed in association with temperament in toddlers. This study was cross-sectional and observational and, therefore, does not permit determination of the causal direction of effects. However, if bidirectional brain-gut relationships are present in humans in early life, this may represent an opportunity for intervention relevant to physical as well as mental health disorders.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Few longitudinal studies have investigated the role of temperament traits on weight and eating problems thus far. We investigated whether temperament in preadolescence influences body weight and the development of eating pathology in adolescence and young adulthood. METHOD:This study used data from TRAILS (Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey), a Dutch community cohort study (N = 2,230) from preadolescence into adulthood. At age 11, the temperament dimensions negative affectivity and effortful control were measured with the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire-Revised. Body mass index (BMI) was measured at all assessment waves. At age 19, the prevalence of eating disorders was investigated by two-stage screening including interviews by eating disorder experts. At age 22 and 26, the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale was used to assess the level of eating pathology. RESULTS:Higher negative affectivity in preadolescence was associated with higher BMI and eating pathology in young adulthood. Lower effortful control in preadolescence was found to be a risk factor for the development of obesity in young adulthood. No association was found between effortful control in preadolescence and eating pathology in later life. DISCUSSION:Both negative affectivity and effortful control play a role in the development of weight or eating problems during adolescence.
Project description:Using data from the large, 30-year prospective Dunedin cohort study, we examined whether preexisting individual differences in childhood temperament predicted adulthood disordered gambling (a diagnosis covering the full continuum of gambling-related problems). A 90-min observational assessment at age 3 was used to categorize children into five temperament groups, including one primarily characterized by behavioral and emotional undercontrol. The children with undercontrolled temperament at 3 years of age were more than twice as likely to evidence disordered gambling at ages 21 and 32 than were children who were well-adjusted at age 3. These associations could not be explained by differences in childhood IQ or family socioeconomic status. Cleanly demonstrating the temporal relation between behavioral undercontrol and adult disordered gambling is an important step toward building more developmentally sensitive theories of disordered gambling and may put researchers in a better position to begin considering potential routes to disordered-gambling prevention through enhancing self-control and emotional regulation.
Project description:Understanding how specific genes contribute to risk for addiction remains challenging. This study tests whether childhood temperament and externalizing behavior in early adolescence account for a portion of the association between specific genetic variants and substance use problems in late adolescence. The sample consisted of 487 adolescents from the Michigan Longitudinal Study, a high-risk sample (70.2% male, 81.7% European American ancestry). Polymorphisms across serotonergic (SLC6A4, 5-HTTLPR), dopaminergic (DRD4, u-VNTR), noradrenergic (SLC6A2, rs36021), and GABAergic (GABRA2, rs279858; GABRA6, rs3811995) genes were examined given prior support for associations with temperament, externalizing behavior, and substance use problems. The temperament traits behavioral control and resiliency were assessed using interviewer ratings (ages 9-11), and externalizing behavior (ages 12-14) was assessed using teacher ratings. Self-reported substance use outcomes (ages 15-17) included maximum alcoholic beverages consumed in 24 hours, and frequency of past year cigarette and marijuana use. Behavioral control, resiliency, and externalizing behavior accounted for the associations between polymorphisms in noradrenergic and GABAergic genes and substance use in late adolescence. Individual differences in emotional coping and behavioral regulation represent nonspecific neurobiological underpinnings for an externalizing pathway to addiction. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:Effortful control refers to the propensity to regulate one's impulses and behaviors, to focus and shift attention easily, and to motivate the self toward a goal when there are competing desires. Although it seems likely that these capacities are relevant to successful functioning in the school context, there has been surprisingly little longitudinal research examining whether youth with poor effortful control are more likely to act out in the classroom, get suspended, and skip school. Conversely, there is even less research on whether youth who exhibit these school behavioral problems are more likely to decline over time in effortful control. We used multimethod data from a longitudinal study of Mexican-origin youth (N = 674), assessed biennially from 5th to 11th grade, to examine the codevelopment of effortful control and school behavioral problems. Bivariate latent growth curve models revealed a negative association between the trajectories of effortful control and school behavioral problems, indicating that steeper decreases in effortful control were related to steeper increases in school behavioral problems. Furthermore, this codevelopmental pattern was bidirectional; cross-lagged regression analyses showed that low effortful control was associated with relative increases in school behavioral problems, and school behavioral problems were associated with relative decreases in effortful control. Gender, nativity status, Mexican cultural values, and school-level antisocial behavior had concurrent associations with effortful control and school behavioral problems, but they did not moderate the codevelopmental pathways. We discuss the theoretical implications for personality development, as well as the practical implications for reducing school behavioral problems during adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:Both individual and environmental factors predict externalizing behaviors and substance use (EB-SU); however, different patterns of interaction among these factors may have different implications. This review first examines how temperament and the family environment interact in the prediction of adolescent EB-SU. Second, studies are reviewed according to two theoretical models: (1) diathesis-stress, i.e., certain individual characteristics are linked to vulnerability and later problems in adverse environments; (2) differential susceptibility, i.e., these characteristics are linked to susceptibility, predicting problems in adverse environments, but also better than average outcomes in good environments. Fourteen studies focusing on the prediction of EB-SU at ages 12-18 were selected through a literature search. Results showed that certain temperament traits (high levels of impulsivity and disinhibition; low levels of effortful control, negative affect, fearfulness and shyness), hereby designated as "adventurous" disposition, were associated with higher levels of EB-SU in adverse family environments. Some studies also showed that children with "adventurous" temperament traits in positive environments had the lowest levels of EB-SU. This suggests that prevention of EB-SU might target family factors such as parenting and focus on children with "adventurous" temperament traits. Further, studies that supported the differential susceptibility model were those assessing temperament and the family environment in childhood and studies that supported the diathesis-stress model assessed these variables in adolescence. It is thus possible that some of these "adventurous" temperament traits, with regard to EB-SU, would be indicators of susceptibility to both enriched and adverse environments in childhood but no longer in adolescence, when they would only be indicators of vulnerability to adverse environments.
Project description:Poor effortful control is a key temperamental factor underlying behavioral problems. The bidirectional association of child effortful control with both positive parenting and negative discipline was examined from ages approximately 3 to 13-14 years, involving five time points, and using data from parents and children in the Oregon Youth Study-Three Generational Study (N = 318 children from 150 families). Based on a dynamic developmental systems approach, it was hypothesized that there would be concurrent associations between parenting and child effortful control and bidirectional effects across time from each aspect of parenting to effortful control and from effortful control to each aspect of parenting. It was also hypothesized that associations would be more robust in early childhood, from ages 3 to 7 years, and would diminish as indicated by significantly weaker effects at the older ages, 11-12 to 13-14 years. Longitudinal feedback or mediated effects were also tested. The findings supported (a) stability in each construct over multiple developmental periods; (b) concurrent associations, which were significantly weaker at the older ages;