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Kiel, E., Price, N., & Buss, K.A. (2020, Accepted). Maternal anxiety and toddler inhibited temperament predict maternal socialization of worry. Social Development. DOI: 10.1111/sode.12476

Parent emotion socialization refers to the process by which parents impart their values and beliefs about emotional expressivity to their children. Parent emotion socialization requires attention as a construct that develops in its own right. The socialization of child worry, in particular, has implications for children’s typical socioemotional development, as well as their maladaptive development toward anxiety outcomes. Existing theories on emotion socialization, anxiety, and parent–child relationships guided our investigation of both maternal anxiety and toddler inhibited temperament as predictors of change in mothers’ unsupportive (i.e., distress, punitive, and minimizing) responses to toddler worry across 1 year of toddlerhood. Participants included 139 mother–toddler dyads. Mothers reported on their own anxiety and their emotion socialization responses to toddler worry. We assessed toddler inhibited temperament through a mother‐report survey of shyness and observational coding of dysregulated fear. Maternal anxiety but not child inhibited temperament predicted distress reactions and punitive responses, whereas maternal anxiety and toddler dysregulated fear both uniquely predicted minimizing responses. These results support the continued investigation of worry socialization as a developmental outcome of both parent and child characteristics.

LoBue, V., Reider, L.B., Kim, E., Burris, J.L., Oleas, D.S., Buss, K.A., Pérez-Edgar, K., Field, A.P. (2020). The importance of using multiple outcome measures in infant research. Infancy.25(4), 420-437.  doi: 10.1111/infa.12339

Collecting data with infants is notoriously difficult. As a result, many of our studies consist of small samples, with only a single measure, in a single age group, at a single time point. With renewed calls for greater academic rigor in data collection practices, using multiple outcome measures in infant research is one way to increase rigor, and, at the same time, enable us to more accurately interpret our data. Here, we illustrate the importance of using multiple measures in psychological research with examples from our own work on rapid threat detection and from the broader infancy literature. First, we describe our initial studies using a single outcome measure, and how this strategy caused us to nearly miss a rich and complex story about attention biases for threat and their development. We demonstrate how using converging measures can help researchers make inferences about infant behavior, and how using additional measures allows us to more deeply examine the mechanisms that drive developmental change. Finally, we provide practical and statistical recommendations for how researchers can use multiple measures in future work.

Shewark, E., Brick, T.R., Buss, K.A. (2020). Capturing Temporal Dynamics of Fear Behaviors on a Moment to Moment Basis. Infancy. doi: 10.1111/infa.12328

Identifying patterns of fearful behaviors early and accurately is essential to identify children who may be at increased risk for psychopathology. Previous work focused on the total amount of fear by using composites across time. However, considering the temporal dynamics of fear expression might offer novel insights into the identification of children at risk. One hundred and twenty‐five toddlers participated in high‐ and low‐fear tasks. Data were modeled using a novel two‐step approach. First, a hidden Markov model estimated latent fear states and transitions across states over time. Results revealed children's behavior was best represented by six behavioral states. Next, these states were analyzed using sequence clustering to identify groups of children with similar dynamic trajectories through the states. A four‐cluster solution found groups of children varied in fear response and regulation process: “external regulators” (using the caregiver as a regulation tool), “low reactive” (low reaction to stimulus), “fearful explorers” (managing their own internal state with minimal assistance from the caregiver), and “high fear” (fearful/at‐caregiver state regardless of task). The combination of analytic tools enabled fine‐grained examination of the processes of fearful temperament. These insights may help prevention programs target behaviors that perpetuate anxious behavior in the moment.

Buss, K. A., Cho, S., Morales, S., McDoniel, M., Frank Webb, A., Schwartz, A., Cole, P. M., Dorn, L., Gest, S., Teti, D. (2020). Toddler dysregulated fear predicts continued risk for social anxiety symptoms in early adolescence. Development and Psychopathology 44, 1298-1313. doi: 10.1017/S0954579419001743

Identifying early risk factors for the development of social anxiety symptoms has important translational implications. Accurately identifying which children are at the highest risk is of critical importance, especially if we can identify risk early in development. We examined continued risk for social anxiety symptoms at the transition to adolescence in a community sample of children (n = 112) that had been observed for high fearfulness at age 2 and tracked for social anxiety symptoms from preschool through age 6. In our previous studies, we found that a pattern of dysregulated fear (DF), characterized by high fear in low threat contexts, predicted social anxiety symptoms at ages 3, 4, 5, and 6 years across two samples. In the current study, we re-evaluated these children at 11-13 years of age by using parent and child reports of social anxiety symptoms, parental monitoring, and peer relationship quality. The scores for DF uniquely predicted adolescents' social anxiety symptoms beyond the prediction that was made by more proximal measures of behavioral (e.g., kindergarten social withdrawal) and concurrent environmental risk factors (e.g., parental monitoring, peer relationships). Implications for early detection, prevention, and intervention are discussed.

Blackwell, C., Wakschlag, L., Krogh-Jespersen, S., Buss, K. A., Luby, J., Bevans, K., Lai, Jin-Shei, F., Christopher B., Cella, D. (2020) Pragmatic health assessments in early childhood: The PROMIS of developmentally-based measurement for pediatric psychology. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 45(3), 311-318. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsz094

To illustrate the integration of developmental considerations into person-reported outcome (PRO) measurement development for application in early childhood pediatric psychology.

Pérez-Edgar, K., Vallorani, A., Buss, K.A., LoBue, V. (2019) Individual differences in infancy research: Letting the baby stand out from the crowd. Infancy.25(4), 438-457. doi: 10.1111/infa.12338

Within the developmental literature, there is an often unspoken tension between studies that aim to capture broad scale, fairly universal nomothetic traits, and studies that focus on mechanisms and trajectories that are idiographic and bounded to some extent by systematic individual differences. The suitability of these approaches varies as a function of the specific research interests at hand. Although the approaches are interdependent, they have often proceeded as parallel research traditions. The current review notes some of the historical and empirical bases for this divide and suggests that each tradition would benefit from incorporating both methodological approaches to iteratively examine universal (nomothetic) phenomena and the individual differences (idiographic) factors that lead to variation in development. This work may help isolate underlying causal mechanisms, better understand current functioning, and predict long‐term developmental consequences. In doing so, we also highlight empirical and structural issues that need to be addressed to support this integration.

Fu, X., Morales, S., LoBue, V., Buss, K. A., Pérez-Edgar, K. (2019). Temperament Moderates Developmental Changes in Vigilance to Emotional Faces in Infants: Evidence from an Eye-tracking Study. Developmental Psychobiology. doi: 10.1002/dev.21920

Affect-biased attention reflects the prioritization of attention to stimuli that individuals deem to be motivationally and/or affectively salient. Normative affect-biased attention is early-emerging, providing an experience-expectant function for socioemotional development. Evidence is limited regarding how reactive and regulatory aspects of temperament may shape maturational changes in affect-biased attention that operate at the earliest stages of information processing. This study implemented a novel eye-tracking paradigm designed to capture attention vigilance in infants. We assessed temperamental negative affect (NA) and attention control (AC) using laboratory observations and parent-reports, respectively. Among infants (N = 161 in the final analysis) aged 4 to 24 months (Mean = 12.05, SD = 5.46; 86 males), there was a significant age effect on fixation latency to emotional versus neutral faces only in infants characterized with high NA and high AC. Specifically, in infants with these temperament traits, older infants showed shorter latency (i.e., greater vigilance) toward neutral faces, which are potentially novel and unfamiliar to infants. The age effect on vigilance toward emotional faces was not significant. The findings support the argument that the development of affect-biased attention is associated with multiple temperament processes that potentially interact over time.

Burris, J. L., Oleas, D., Reider, L., Buss, K. A., Pérez-Edgar, K, & LoBue, V. (2019). Biased attention to threat: Answering old questions with young infants. Current Directions in Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0963721419861415

For decades, researchers have been interested in humans’ ability to quickly detect threat-relevant stimuli. Here, we review recent findings from infant research on biased attention to threat and discuss how these data speak to classic assumptions about whether attention biases for threat are normative, whether they change with development, and what factors might contribute to this developmental change. We conclude that although there is some stability in attention biases in infancy, various factors—including temperamental negative affect and maternal anxiety—also contribute to shaping the development of biased attention

Burris, J. L., Buss, K. A., LoBue, V., Pérez-Edgar, K., Field, A. P. (2019). Biased attention to threat and anxiety: On taking a developmental approach. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043808719860717

Several researchers have proposed a causal relation between biased attention to threat and the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders in both children and adults. However, despite the widely documented correlation between attention bias to threat and anxiety, developmental research in this domain is limited. In this review, we highlight the importance of taking a developmental approach to studying attention biases to threat and anxiety. First, we discuss how recent developmental work on attention to threat fits into existing theoretical frameworks for the development of anxiety and how attention biases might interact with other risk factors across development. Then we review the developmental literature on attention bias to threat and anxiety and describe how classic methodologies can be modified to study attention biases in even the youngest infants. Finally, we discuss limitations and future directions in this domain, emphasizing the need for future longitudinal research beginning in early infancy that tracks concurrent developments in both biased attention and anxiety. Altogether, we hope that by highlighting the importance of development in the study of attention bias to threat and anxiety, we can provide a road map for how researchers might implement developmental approaches to studying a potential core mechanism in anxiety.

Fu, X., Nelson, E. E., Borge, M., Buss, K. A., Pérez-Edgar, K. (2019, early online). Stationary and ambulatory attention patterns are differentially associated with early temperamental risk for socioemotional problems: Preliminary evidence from a multimodal eye-tracking investigation. Development & Psychopathology. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000427

Behavioral Inhibition (BI) is a temperament type that predicts social withdrawal in childhood and anxiety disorders later in life. However, not all BI children develop anxiety. Attention bias (AB) may enhance the vulnerability for anxiety in BI children, and interfere with their development of effective emotion regulation. In order to fully probe attention patterns, we used traditional measures of reaction time (RT), stationary eye-tracking, and recently emerging mobile eye-tracking measures of attention in a sample of 5- to 7-year-olds characterized as BI (N = 23) or non-BI (N = 58) using parent reports. There were no BI-related differences in RT or stationary eye-tracking indices of AB in a dot-probe task. However, findings in a subsample from whom eye-tracking data were collected during a live social interaction indicated that BI children (N = 12) directed fewer gaze shifts to the stranger than non-BI children (N = 25). Moreover, the frequency of gazes toward the stranger was positively associated with stationary AB only in BI, but not in non-BI, children. Hence, BI was characterized by a consistent pattern of attention across stationary and ambulatory measures. We demonstrate the utility of mobile eye-tracking as an effective tool to extend the assessment of attention and regulation to social interactive contexts.

 

Brooker, R. J., Bates, J. E., Buss, K. A., Canen, M. J., Dennis-Tiwary, T. A., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Hoyniak, C., Klein, D. N., Kujawa, A., Lahat, A., Lamm, C., Moser, J. S., Peterson, I. T., Tang, A., Woltering, S., & Schmidt, L. A. (in press). Conducting event-related potential (ERP) research with young children: A review of components, special considerations and recommendations for research on cognition and emotion. Journal of Psychophysiology. doi.org/10.1027/0269-8803/a000243

There has been an unprecedented increase in the number of research studies employing event-related potential (ERP) techniques to examine dynamic and rapidly occurring neural processes with children during the preschool and early childhood years. Despite this, there has been relatively little discussion of the methodological and procedural differences that exist for studies of young children versus older children and adults. That is, reviewers, editors, and consumers of this work often expect developmental studies to simply apply adult techniques and procedures to younger samples. Procedurally, this creates unrealistic expectations for research paradigms, data collection, and data reduction and analyses. Scientifically, this leads to inappropriate measures and methods that hinder drawing conclusions and advancing theory. Based on ERP work with preschoolers and young children from 10 laboratories across North America, we present a summary of the most common ERP components under study in the area of emotion and cognition in young children along with 13 realistic expectations for data collection and loss, laboratory procedures and paradigms, data processing, ERP averaging, and typical challenges for conducting this type of work. This work is intended to supplement previous guidelines for work with adults and offer insights to aid researchers, reviewers, and editors in the design and evaluation of developmental research using ERPs. Here we make recommendations for researchers who plan to conduct or who are conducting ERP studies in children between ages 2 and 12 years, focusing on studies of toddlers and preschoolers. Recommendations are based on both data and our cumulative experience and include guidelines for laboratory setup, equipment and recording settings, task design,and data processing.

 

Buss, K. A. Davis E. L., Ram, N, Coccia, M. (2018) Dysregulated fear, social inhibition, and RSA: A replication an extension. Child Development, 89 (3, e214-e228). doi. 10.1111/cdev.12774

Behavioral inhibition indicates increased risk for development of social anxiety. Recent work has identified a pattern of dysregulated fear (DF), characterized by high fear in low threat situations, that provides a more precise marker of developmental risk through early childhood. This study tested a new longitudinal sample of children (n = 124) from age 24 to 48 months. Replicating prior findings, at 24 months we identified a pattern of fearful behavior across contexts marked by higher fear to putatively low-threat situations. DF was associated with higher parental report of social inhibition at 24, 36 and 48 months. Extending prior findings, we observed differences in cardiac physiology during fear-eliciting situations suggesting that the neurobiological underpinnings of DF relate to difficulty with regulation.

 

McDoniel, M., & Buss, K. A. (2018). Maternal responsiveness protects exuberant toddlers from developing behavior problems in kindergarten. Early Education and Development, 29, 716-729.

Exuberant temperament, characterized by high approach and positive affect, is linked to socioemotional outcomes including risk for externalizing symptoms across development. Externalizing problems interfere with children’s school readiness and lead to disruptive behavior in the classroom. While some moderating factors help identify which exuberant children are at risk and in which contexts they are at risk, few studies have identified early moderators that protect against maladjustment when children enter school. In the current study, we examined exuberant temperament in 124 toddlers and classroom behavior problems reported by kindergarten teachers. We also assessed the impact of maternal responsiveness at 24 months on the relation between exuberance and classroom behavior problems. As hypothesized, we found that higher exuberance predicted more behavior problems. Additionally, maternal responsiveness moderated this association such that high responsiveness protected exuberant children from classroom behavior problems.

 

Lunkenheimer, E., Tiberio, S., Skoranski, A., Buss, K. A., & Cole, P. M. (2018). Parent-child co-regulation of parasympathetic processes varies by social context and risk for psychopathology. Psychophysiology. doi. 10.1111/psyp.12985.

Abstract: The parasympathetic nervous system supports social interaction and varies in relation to psychopathology. However, we know little about parasympathetic processes from a dyadic framework, nor in early childhood when parent-child social interactions become more complex and child psychopathology first emerges. We hypothesized that higher risk for psychopathology (maternal psychopathology symptoms and child problem behavior) would be related to weaker concordance of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) between mothers and children (M = 3½ years old; N = 47) and that these relations could vary by social contextual demands, comparing unstructured free play, semistructured cleanup, and structured teaching tasks. Multilevel coupled autoregressive models of RSA during parent-child interactions showed overall dynamic, positive concordance in mother-child RSA over time, but this concordance was weaker during the more structured teaching task. In contrast, higher maternal psychological aggression and child externalizing and internalizing problems were associated with weaker dyadic RSA concordance, which was weakest during unstructured free play. Higher maternal depressive symptoms were related to disrupted individual mother and child RSA but not to RSA concordance. Thus, risk for psychopathology was generally related to weaker dyadic mother-child RSA concordance in contexts with less complex structure or demands (free play, cleanup), as compared to the structured teaching task that showed weaker RSA concordance for all dyads. Implications for the meaning and utility of the construct of parent-child physiological coregulation are discussed.

 

Myruski, S., Gulyayeva, O., Birk2, S., Perez-Edgar, K., Buss, K. A., & Dennis-Tiwary, T. A. (2018). Digital Disruption? Maternal mobile device use is related to infant social-emotional functioning. Developmental Science

Abstract: Mobile device use has become increasingly prevalent, yet its impact on infant development remains largely unknown. When parents use mobile devices in front of infants, the parent is physically present but most likely distracted and unresponsive. Research using the classic Still Face Paradigm (SFP) suggests that parental withdrawal and unresponsiveness may have negative consequences for children’s social-emotional development. In the present study, 50 infants aged 7.20 to 23.60 months (M = 15.40, SD = 4.74) and their mothers completed a modified SFP. The SFP consisted of three phases: free play (FP; parent and infant play and interact), still face (SF; parent withdraws attention and becomes unresponsive), and reunion (RU; parent resumes normal interaction). The modified SFP incorporated mobile device use in the SF phase. Parents reported on their typical mobile device use and infant temperament. Consistent with the standard SFP, infants showed more negative affect and less positive affect during SF versus FP. Infants also showed more toy engagement and more engagement with mother during FP versus SF and RU. Infants showed the most social bids during SF and more room exploration in SF than RU. More frequent reported mobile device use was associated with less room exploration and positive affect during SF, and less recovery (i.e. engagement with mother, room exploration positive affect) during RU, even when controlling for individual differences in temperament. Findings suggest that the SFP represents a promising theoretical framework for understanding the impact of parent’s mobile device use on infant social-emotional functioning and parent-infant interactions.

 

Perez-Edgar, K., Morales, S., LoBue, V., Taber-Thomas, B. C., Allen, E. K., Brown K. M., & Buss, K.A. (2017). The impact of negative affect on attention patterns to threat across the first two years of life. Developmental Psychology.

Abstract: The current study examined the relations between individual differences in attention to emotion faces and temperamental negative affect across the first two years of life. Infant studies have noted a normative pattern of preferential attention to salient cues, particularly angry faces. A parallel literature suggests that elevated attention bias to threat is associated with anxiety, particularly if coupled with temperamental risk. Examining the emerging relations between attention to threat and temperamental negative affect may help distinguish normative from at-risk patterns of attention. Infants (N=145) ages 4 to 24 months (Mean=12.93 months, SD=5.57) completed an eye-tracking task modeled on the attention bias “dot-probe” task used with older children and adults. With age, infants spent greater time attending to emotion faces, particularly threat faces. All infants displayed slower latencies to fixate to incongruent versus congruent probes. Neither relation was moderated by temperament. Trial-by-trial analyses found that dwell time to the face was associated with latency to orient to subsequent probes, moderated by the infant’s age and temperament. In young infants low in negative affect longer processing of angry faces was associated with faster subsequent fixation to probes; young infants high in negative affect displayed the opposite pattern at trend. Findings suggest that although age was directly associated with an emerging bias to threat, the impact of processing threat on subsequent orienting was associated with age and temperament. Early patterns of attention may shape how children respond to their environments, potentially via attention’s gate-keeping role in framing a child’s social world for processing.

 

Buss, K. A. Davis EL, Ram, N, Coccia, M. (2018) Dysregulated fear, social inhibition, and RSA: A replication an extension. Child Development. doi. 10.1111/cdev.12774

Abstract: Behavioral inhibition indicates increased risk for development of social anxiety. Recent work has identified a pattern of dysregulated fear (DF), characterized by high fear in low-threat situations, that provides a more precise marker of developmental risk through early childhood. This study tested a new longitudinal sample of children (= 124) from ages 24 to 48 months. Replicating prior findings, at 24 months, we identified a pattern of fearful behavior across contexts marked by higher fear to putatively low-threat situations. DF was associated with higher parental report of social inhibition at 24, 36, and 48 months. Extending prior findings, we observed differences in cardiac physiology during fear-eliciting situations, suggesting that the neurobiological underpinnings of DF relate to difficulty with regulation.

 

Dollar, J., Stifter. C., Buss, K. A.  (2017) Exuberant and Inhibited Children: Person-centered Profiles and Links to Social Adjustment. Developmental Psychology.

Abstract: The current study aimed to substantiate and extend our understanding regarding the existence and developmental pathways of 3 distinct temperament profiles-exuberant, inhibited, and average approach-in a sample of 3.5-year-old children (n = 121). The interactions between temperamental styles and specific types of effortful control, inhibitory control and attentional control, were also examined in predicting kindergarten peer acceptance. Latent profile analysis identified 3 temperamental styles: exuberant, inhibited, and average approach. Support was found for the adaptive role of inhibitory control for exuberant children and attentional control for inhibited children in promoting peer acceptance in kindergarten. These findings add to our current understanding of temperamental profiles by using sophisticated methodology in a slightly older, community sample, as well as the importance of examining specific types of self-regulation to identify which skills lower risk for children of different temperamental styles. 

 

Cho, S. & Buss, K. A. (2017). Toddler Parasympathetic Regulation and Fear: Links to Maternal Appraisal and Behavior. Developmental Psychobiology.

Abstract: There is a growing recognition that parental socialization influences interact with young children's emerging capacity for physiological regulation and shape children's developmental trajectories. Nevertheless, the transactional processes linking parental socialization and physiological regulatory processes remain not well understood, particularly for fear-prone toddlers. To address this gap in the literature, the present study investigated the biopsychosocial processes that underlie toddlers’ fear regulation by examining the relations among toddler parasympathetic regulation, maternal appraisal, and parenting behaviors. Participants included 124 mothers and their toddlers (Mage = 24.43 months), who participated in a longitudinal study of temperament and socio-emotional development. Toddlers’ parasympathetic reactivity was found to moderate the links between maternal anticipatory appraisal of child fearfulness and (a) maternal provision of physical comfort and (b) preschool-age child inhibition. Additionally, maternal comforting behaviors during the low-threat task predicted preschool-age separation distress, specifically for toddlers demonstrating a low baseline RSA.

LoBue, V., Buss, K. A., Tabor-Thomas, B., & Perez-Edgar, K., (2017). Developmental differences in infants’ attention to social and nonsocial threats. Infancy

Abstract: Research has demonstrated that humans detect threatening stimuli more rapidly than nonthreatening stimuli. Although the literature presumes that biases for threat should be normative, present early in development, evident across multiple forms of threat, and stable across individuals, developmental work in this area is limited. Here, we examine the developmental differences in infants' (4- to 24-month-olds) attention to social (angry faces) and nonsocial (snakes) threats using a new age-appropriate dot-probe task. In Experiment 1, infants' first fixations were more often to snakes than to frogs, and they were faster to fixate probes that appeared in place of snakes vs. frogs. There were no significant age differences, suggesting that a perceptual bias for snakes is present early in life and stable across infancy. In Experiment 2, infants fixated probes more quickly after viewing any trials that contained an angry face compared to trials that contained a happy face. Further, there were age-related changes in infants' responses to face stimuli, with a general increase in looking time to faces before the probe and an increase in latency to fixate the probe after seeing angry faces. Together, this work suggests that different developmental mechanisms may be responsible for attentional biases for social vs. nonsocial threats.

 

Cho, S. Philbrook, L.E., Davis, E. L., & Buss, K. A. (2017). Sleep duration and RSA suppression as predictors of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Developmental Psychobiology, 59, 60-69. doi. 10.1002/dev.21467

Abstract: Although the conceptual interplay among the biological and clinical features of sleep, arousal, and emotion regulation has been noted, little is understood about how indices of sleep duration and parasympathetic reactivity operate jointly to predict adjustment in early childhood. Using a sample of 123 toddlers, the present study examined sleep duration and RSA reactivity as predictors of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Parents reported on children's sleep duration and adjustment. RSA reactivity was assessed via children's responses to fear-eliciting stimuli and an inhibitory control challenge. Findings demonstrated that greater RSA suppression to both types of tasks in combination with longer sleep duration was concurrently associated with less internalizing. In contrast, greater RSA augmentation to an inhibitory control task in the context of shorter sleep duration predicted more externalizing 1 year later. The significance of duration of toddlers’ sleep as well as the context in which physiological regulatory difficulties occurs is discussed.

 

Lunkenheimer, E., Tiberio, S. S., Buss, K. A., Lucas-Thompson, R. G., Boker, S. M., & Timpe, Z. C. (2016). Coregulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia between parents and preschoolers: Differences by children's externalizing problems. Developmental Psychobiology, 57, 994-1003. doi. 10.1002/dev.21323

Abstract: The coordination of physiological processes between parents and infants is thought to support behaviors critical for infant adaptation, but we know little about parent-child physiological coregulation during the preschool years. The present study examined whether time-varying changes in parent and child respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) exhibited coregulation (across-person dynamics) accounting for individual differences in parent and child RSA, and whether there were differences in these parasympathetic processes by children's externalizing problems. Mother-child dyads (N = 47; Child age M = 3½ years) engaged in three laboratory tasks (free play, clean up, puzzle task) for 18 min, during which RSA data were collected. Multilevel coupled autoregressive models revealed that mothers and preschoolers showed positive coregulation of RSA such that changes in mother RSA predicted changes in the same direction in child RSA and vice versa, controlling for the stability of within-person RSA over time and individual differences in overall mean RSA. However, when children's externalizing behaviors were higher, coregulation was negative such that changes in real-time mother and child RSA showed divergence rather than positive concordance. Results suggest that mothers and preschoolers do coregulate RSA during real-time interactions, but that children's higher externalizing behavior problems are related to disruptions in these processes.

 

Kiel, E. J., Premo, J. E., & Buss, K. A. (2016). Gender moderates the progression from fearful temperament to social withdrawal through protective parenting. Social Development, 25, 235-255. doi. 10.1111/sode.12145

Abstract: Child gender may exert its influence on development, not as a main effect, but as a moderator among predictors and outcomes. We examined this notion in relations among toddler fearful temperament, maternal protective parenting, maternal accuracy in predicting toddler distress to novelty, and child social withdrawal. In two multi-method, longitudinal studies of toddlers (24 months at Time 1; ns = 93 and 117, respectively) and their mothers, few main effect gender differences occurred. Moderation existed in both studies: only for highly accurate mothers of boys, fearful temperament related to protective parenting, which then predicted later social withdrawal. Thus, studying only main-effect gender differences may obscure important differences in how boys and girls develop from fearful temperament to later social withdrawal.