Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
New York University School of Medicine
New York
United States
Postal Code
Title of Symposium
List the Chair(s) and All Presenter Names and Email Addresses
Seulki Ku ([email protected]), Chair and Presenter; Tyler Watts ([email protected]), Discussant; Sarah Vogel ([email protected]), Presenter; Lauren Altenburger ([email protected]), Presenter; Niyantri Ravindran ([email protected]), Presenter * Note: This symposium focuses on the preschool period and the transition to middle childhood. Since there was no option for these developmental periods in “ages of research subjects”, we tentatively selected “infancy.”
Topics to be Addressed:
Physiological Processes including hormonal modulation, Socio-emotional including attachment & temperament, Adversity, Parental behavior such as maternal or paternal or parent-child interactions
Ages of Research Subjects
Details of Research Subjects
Symposium Proposal Text (type or paste from Word doc)
Symposium Proposal: Executive function (EF) and emotion regulation (ER) are the two major components of self-regulation. Both EF and ER are essential for academic success and have long-term effects on health and wellbeing through adulthood. Early childhood represents a time of tremendous growth in EF and ER, and the growth is susceptible to contextual adversity, such as poverty-related adversity, parental psychopathology, and low-quality parenting. However, not all children are equally vulnerable to early-life adversity, and factors promoting resilience are not fully understood. Dr. Ku will begin the symposium by presenting potential protective factors related to maternal mental health that promote EF growth for children at risk. Sarah Vogel will then identify trajectories of children’s exposure to threats and examine how distinct trajectories of threats predict EF. Dr. Altenburger will present evidence that maternal and paternal parenting quality shapes EF development. Finally, Dr. Ravindran will examine the developmental shift from maternal regulation to child ER, and mechanisms by which this shift occurs over time. Notably, our discussion of proximal contexts will include paternal characteristics/behavior, a topic which has been historically under-represented in the self-regulation literature. Finally, our collective work is based on advanced quantitative longitudinal methods, such as person-centered and growth curve modeling approaches, providing a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the role of protective factors promoting self-regulation. Altogether, we will highlight novel potential pathways by which to reduce EF and ER gaps in early childhood and to allow children equal opportunities to thrive, even within the context of with environmental adversity. Presentation 1: PROFILES OF EARLY FAMILY ENVIRONMENTS AND THE GROWTH OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTION: THE PROTECTIVE ROLE OF MATERNAL SENSITIVITY Seulki Ku (Primary Presenter), New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States Clancy Blair, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States Early-life adversity undermines executive function (EF) development. Recent studies have suggested that different types of risk may reflect distinct risk profiles, which in turn differentially affect EF. However, maternal sensitivity (MS) appears to play a protective role in promoting EF for children at risk. We explored profiles of environmental risks at 6 months and associations between these profiles and EF growth from 36 to 60 months. Furthermore, we tested whether MS at 24 months predicted EF growth in distinct profiles. Using latent profile analysis, we identified five profiles from indicators of socioeconomic status (SES; e.g., maternal education, income-to-needs ratio, occupational prestige, residential crowding) and maternal depression, anxiety, and somatization (n=1,292 from Family Life Project). Profiles were labeled Underprivileged SES/distressed (9%), Underprivileged SES/healthy (18%), Lower SES/distressed (25%), Lower SES/healthy (29%), and Privileged SES/healthy (19%). Children in more advantaged profiles (higher SES/fewer mental health problems) exhibited higher 36-month EF. Children in Lower SES/healthy showed faster EF growth than those in Lower SES/distressed. Furthermore, MS predicted higher 36-month EF and slower EF growth among Underprivileged SES/distressed and Lower SES/healthy. MS also predicted faster EF growth in Underprivileged SES/healthy and higher 36-month EF in Lower SES/distressed. MS predicted neither 36-month EF nor EF growth in Privileged SES/healthy. Our findings indicate that more positive maternal mental health may provide an additive benefit for EF growth during the preschool period, especially for children with lower SES. In addition, we found compelling evidence of the protective role of MS in EF development for children from disadvantaged environments. Presentation 2: TRAJECTORIES OF THREAT EXPOSURE DURING THE FIRST THREE YEARS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN THE PRESCHOOL YEARS Sarah Vogel (Primary Presenter), New York University, New York, NY, United States Clancy Blair, New York University, New York, NY, United States Recent research has found that early life threat exposure may shape cognitive trajectories by privileging the development of executive functions (EF) which allow for the rapid detection and response to environmental threats. However, children’s threat exposure may change over time and not all children follow identical trajectories of threat exposure. Much of the research in this area has failed to account for these variations over time. We used growth mixture modeling to identify trajectories of children’s threat exposure during the first three years of life using data from the Family Life Project (n=1,292). We found four latent classes based on early threat exposure (physical and verbal aggression between the caregivers): 1) consistently low; 2) consistently high; 3) consistently moderate; and 4) beginning high and decreasing to meet the threat levels of group 1. We then examined differences between groups in global EF, as well as individual components – working memory, attention shifting, and inhibitory control, at multiple time points in early childhood. At 48 and 58 months of age, children in group 4 achieved the lowest scores on both global EF measures, as well as measures of EF components. There were no consistent differences between children in the high threat group and children in other groups. These findings suggest that infants exposed to sustained high threat adapt to those environments, such that they do not differ greatly from their lower risk peers. However, infants with inconsistently high threat exposure may develop adaptations that no longer serve them in low-threat environments. Presentation 3: MOTHERS’ AND FATHERS’ PARENTING QUALITY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING Lauren Altenburger (Primary Presenter), The Penn State University, Shenango, PA, United States Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States Executive functioning skills contribute positively to mental and physical health across the lifespan. High-quality parenting is associated with better executive functioning. However, research has focused on mothers’ parenting and failed to consider the role of fathers in the development of executive functioning. This study examined the consequences of mothers’ and fathers’ parenting quality during infancy for children’s attention at 27-months and executive functioning (i.e., inhibitory control, attention shifting, and working memory) at 7.5 years. Data come from a larger study of family development. Assessments were conducted at 9-months postpartum (n = 156), 27-months postpartum (n = 112), and at child age 7.5 years (n = 87). At 9-months postpartum, mothers’ and fathers’ parenting quality (i.e., sensitivity, positive regard, detachment) was measured in separate 5-minute free-play interactions with the child using the Parent-Child Coding Manual (Cox & Crnic, 2002). At 27-months postpartum, toddlers’ attention was measured using the Infant Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (Carter & Briggs-Gowan, 2006). At child age 7.5 years, inhibitory control, attention shifting, and working memory were assessed using cognitive measures from the NIH Toolbox: flanker task, dimensional card sort task, and list sorting task. Longitudinal associations between parenting quality at 9-months postpartum and children’s executive functioning at 27-months and 7.5-years of age were tested using path analyses in Mplus. Preliminary results indicated greater mothers’ parenting quality was associated with greater attention in toddlers (β = .24, p < .01), and fathers’ higher-quality parenting was associated with greater inhibitory control at 7.5 years (β = .22, p < .01). Presentation 4: DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFERENCES IN PARENT AND CHILD BEHAVIOR AND PHYSIOLOGY DURING AN EMOTIONAL SITUATION Niyantri Ravindran (Primary Presenter), The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Gabrielle Sky Cardwell, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Xutong Zhang, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Pamela Marie Cole, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Lisa Michelle Gatzke-Kopp, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Nilam Ram, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States Developmental science postulates that reliance on parental regulation of child negative emotion shifts to greater self-regulation in early childhood. Around age 3 years, children can engage internal resources (e.g., attention, memory) in their use of strategies that can regulate negative emotion. Such strategy use is correlated with parasympathetic withdrawal in response to environmental challenges, a physiological marker of efficient cardiac regulation. This paper reports on the first test of hypothesized developmental differences in parent and child regulatory behavior—maternal regulation of child behavior and child strategy use—and their relations to mothers’ and children’s parasympathetic withdrawal. The frequency and duration of maternal and child regulatory behaviors as well as measures of maternal and child parasympathetic activity were obtained during a 9-minute frustrating wait task (N = 52, child age = 30-60 months). Linear regressions confirmed that (a) mothers of younger children engaged in more frequent regulation of child behavior than mothers of older children, and (b) older children engaged in more prolonged strategy use than younger children. Age was unrelated to mother and child physiology. Longer bouts of maternal regulation of child behavior were associated with greater maternal parasympathetic withdrawal. Further analyses are planned with the full sample of 150 mother-child dyads. This is the first evidence of predicted developmental differences in the shift from parental regulation to child self-regulation in early childhood. Although no developmental differences in maternal and child physiology emerged, parental cardiac regulation may factor in how parents interact with their children during tasks that challenge children.

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Is this a Young Investigator Symposium?
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