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Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)How Early Is Too Early? Identification of Elevated, Persistent Problem Behavior in Childhood
We inquire how early in childhood children most at risk for problematic patterns of internalizing and externalizing behaviors can be accurately classified. Yearly measures of anxiety/depressive symptoms and aggressive behaviors (ages 6–13;  n  = 334), respectively, are used to identify behavioral trajectories. We then assess the degree to which limited spans of yearly information allow for the correct classification into the elevated, persistent pattern of the problem behavior, identified theoretically and empirically as high-risk and most in need of intervention. The true positive rate (sensitivity) is below 70% for anxiety/depressive symptoms and aggressive behaviors using behavioral information through ages 6 and 7. Conversely, by age 9, over 90% of the high-risk individuals are correctly classified (i.e., sensitivity) for anxiety/depressive symptoms, but this threshold is not met until age 12 for aggressive behaviors. Notably, the false positive rate of classification for both high-risk problem behaviors is consistently low using each limited age span of data (< 5%). These results suggest that correct classification into highest risk groups of childhood problem behavior is limited using behavioral information observed at early ages. Prevention programming targeting those who will display persistent, elevated levels of problem behavior should be cognizant of the degree of misclassification and how this varies with the accumulation of behavioral information. Continuous assessment of problem behaviors is needed throughout childhood in order to continually identify high-risk individuals most in need of intervention as behavior patterns are sufficiently realized.
Located in MPRC People / Terence Thornberry, Ph.D. / Terence Thornberry Publications
Using New Policy Parameter to Study Early Childhood Intervention for Low Birth-weight Infants
Erich Battistin examines a relatively understudied early-childhood intervention for low birth-weight infants using new policy parameter
Located in Research / Selected Research
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)The consequences of foster care versus institutional care in early childhood on adolescent cardiometabolic and immune markers: Results from a randomized controlled trial
OBJECTIVE: Children exposed to institutional rearing often exhibit problems across a broad array of developmental domains. We compared the consequences of long-term, high-quality foster care versus standard institution-based care, which began in early childhood on cardiometabolic and immune markers assessed at the time of adolescence. METHODS: The Bucharest Early Intervention Project is a longitudinal investigation of children institutionalized during early childhood (ages 6 to 30 months at baseline) who were subsequently randomized to either high-quality foster care or continued institutional care. At the age of 16 years, 127 respondents participated in a biomarker collection protocol, including 44 institutionalized children randomly assigned to receive care as usual, 41 institutionalized children randomized to be removed from institutional care and placed in high-quality foster care in infancy, and a control group of 42 demographically matched children raised in biological families. Outcomes included body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor α, glycosylated hemoglobin A1c, and Epstein-Barr virus antibody titers. RESULTS: Early institutional rearing was not associated with differences in cardiometabolic or immune markers. Randomization to foster care and age of placement into foster care were also unrelated to these markers, with the exception of BMI z-score, where children assigned to care as usual had lower BMI z-scores relative to children assigned to foster care (-0.23 versus 0.08, p = .06), and older age at placement was associated with lower BMI (β = -0.07, p = .03). CONCLUSIONS: The impact of institutional rearing on measures of cardiometabolic health and immune system functioning is either absent or not evident until later in development. These findings provide new insights into the biological embedding of adversity and how it varies developmentally and across regulatory systems and adversity type.
Located in MPRC People / Natalie Slopen, Sc.D. / Natalie Slopen Publications
Melissa Kearney featured in The New York Times on Early Childhood Intervention
Children exposed to "Sesame Street" were more likely to be enrolled in the correct grade level for their age at middle and high school
Located in News
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Inequalities in the distribution of childhood adversity from birth to 11 years
Objective Exposure to early adversity carries long term harmful consequences for children's health and development. This study aims to 1) estimate the prevalence of childhood adversity for Australian children from infancy to 10-11 years, and 2) document inequalities in the distribution of adversity according to socioeconomic position (SEP), Indigenous status, and ethnicity. Methods Adversity was assessed every two years from 0-1 to 10-11 years in the nationally representative birth cohort of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (N=5,107). Adversity included legal problems; family violence; household mental illness; household substance abuse; harsh parenting; parental separation/divorce; unsafe neighborhood; family member death; and bullying (from 4-5 years). Adversities were examined individually and summed for a measure of multiple adversity (2+ adverse experiences). Results By 10-11 years, 52.8% (95% CI 51.0-54.7) of children had been exposed to two or more adversities. When combined with low SEP, children from ethnic minority and from Indigenous backgrounds had four to eight times the odds of exposure to two or more adversities than children from higher SEP Anglo-Euro backgrounds, respectively (OR 4.3, 95% CI 2.8-6.6 and OR 8.1, 95% CI 4.4-14.8). Ethnic minority and Indigenous children from higher SEP backgrounds had increased odds of exposure to multiple adversity than similarly advantaged Anglo-Euro children (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3 and OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-4.3, respectively). Conclusions Addressing early adversity is a significant opportunity to promote health over the life course, and reduce health inequalities experienced by marginalized groups of children.
Located in MPRC People / Natalie Slopen, Sc.D. / Natalie Slopen Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Individual- and Family-Level Correlates of Socio-Emotional Functioning among African American Youth from Single-Mother Homes: A Compensatory Resilience Model
The majority of research on African American adolescents raised in single-mother homes has focused on externalizing problems, with less attention to other facets of socio-emotional functioning. Using a compensatory resilience approach, the current study examined risk and protective factors at the family (maternal warmth, monitoring, psychological control) and youth (ethnic identity and religiosity) levels as predictors of depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and self-esteem among African American adolescents from single-mother homes ( n  = 193). Lower levels of psychological control, higher levels of monitoring, and higher levels of youth ethnic identity were associated with at least one of the outcomes, depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and self-esteem. In addition, self-esteem, but not hopelessness, mediated the associations between the family- and youth-level factors and youth depressive symptoms. The importance of targeting maternal psychological control and youth ethnic identity, as well as self-esteem, in intervention programs for African American youth from single-mother families is discussed.
Located in MPRC People / Cecily Hardaway, Ph.D. / Cecily Hardaway Publications