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Preview: Developmental Psychology - Vol 44, Iss 2

Developmental Psychology - Vol 53, Iss 6

Developmental Psychology publishes articles that advance knowledge and theory about human development across the life span.

Last Build Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 20:00:06 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Negative emotionality and discipline as long-term predictors of behavioral outcomes in African American and European American children.


The present study examined the early parenting and temperament determinants of children’s antisocial and positive behaviors in a low-income, diverse ethno-racial sample. Participants were from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, which included 960 European American (initial M age = 15.00 months; 51.2% female) and 880 African American mothers and their children (initial M age = 15.10 months; 49.2% female) followed from 15 months of age to 5th grade. For European American children, findings showed direct and indirect effects (via self-regulation) of early negative emotionality on later behaviors. For African American children, discipline practices in infancy had direct long-term implications for behaviors in 5th grade. Discussion highlights the interplay of parenting, temperament, and culture from infancy to late childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Longitudinal associations of neighborhood collective efficacy and maternal corporal punishment with behavior problems in early childhood.


Neighborhood and parenting influences on early behavioral outcomes are strongly dependent upon a child’s stage of development. However, little research has jointly considered the longitudinal associations of neighborhood and parenting processes with behavior problems in early childhood. To address this limitation, this study explores the associations of neighborhood collective efficacy and maternal corporal punishment with the longitudinal patterns of early externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. The study sample consisted of 3,705 families from a nationally representative cohort study of urban families. Longitudinal multilevel models examined the associations of collective efficacy and corporal punishment with behavior problems at age 3, as well as with patterns of behavior problems between the ages 3 to 5. Interactions between the main predictors and child age tested whether neighborhood and parent relationships with child behavior varied over time. Mediation analysis examined whether neighborhood influences on child behavior were mediated by parenting. The models controlled for a comprehensive set of possible confounders at the child, parent, and neighborhood levels. Results indicate that both maternal corporal punishment and low neighborhood collective efficacy were significantly associated with increased behavior problems. The significant interaction between collective efficacy and child age with internalizing problems suggests that neighborhood influences on internalizing behavior were stronger for younger children. The indirect effect of low collective efficacy on behavior problems through corporal punishment was not significant. These findings highlight the importance of multilevel interventions that promote both neighborhood collective efficacy and nonphysical discipline in early childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Parent- and teacher-child relationships and engagement at school entry: Mediating, interactive, and transactional associations across contexts.


Early school engagement patterns set the stage for short- and long-term academic behaviors and progress, and low engagement at school entry can give rise to dysfunctional school behavior and underachievement in later years. Relationships with parents and teachers provide a foundation upon which children develop the skills and behaviors that are critical for engagement in early elementary school. However, the cross-contextual and transactional processes by which these relationships are associated with engagement in early elementary school remain unclear. This investigation therefore considers how children’s relationships with parents prior to school entry are indirectly and interactively associated with 1st grade engagement through teacher–child relationships. It also considers how early cognitive, self-regulatory, and behavioral skills and competencies elicit these relational responses. This investigation drew upon multimethod data from triangulated sources (parents, teachers, and direct observation) available within a large longitudinal study, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Results indicate that neither 54-month or 1st grade parent–child relationships were directly associated with children’s engagement in early elementary school. However, 1st grade teacher conflict was problematic for children’s developing engagement. In turn, teacher conflict partially mediated linkages between maternal sensitivity and conflict prior to school entry and engagement in 1st grade. Parental closeness and sensitivity also buffered children against negative associations between teacher conflict and engagement. Finally, children’s early skills and competencies at 36 months elicited relational processes that were indirectly associated with engagement. Conceptual, theoretical, and methodological challenges are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Is pre-K classroom quality associated with kindergarten and middle-school academic skills?


We employed data from a longitudinal investigation of over 1,000 children who participated in Tulsa’s universal school-based pre-K program in 2005, and path modeling techniques, to examine the contribution of pre-K classroom quality to both kindergarten- and middle-school academic skills. We also examined gender and income-related differences in quality-outcome associations. Both Instructional and Emotional Support in pre-K classrooms, but not Classroom Management, assessed with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), were associated with kindergarten academic skills and, modestly indirectly associated through these immediate impacts, to middle-school test scores. Linear associations were found for Instructional Support whereas nonlinear patterns of association were evident for Emotional Support. Gender and income differences characterized Instructional Support-outcome associations. Results are discussed in terms of implications for improving pre-K quality as one avenue for supporting the ongoing development of academic skills. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

She bought the unicorn from the pet store: Six- to seven-year-olds are strongly inclined to generate natural explanations.


In two experiments (N = 64), we told 6- to 7-year-olds about improbable or impossible outcomes (Experiment 1) and about impossible outcomes concerning ordinary or magical agents (Experiment 2). In both experiments, children claimed that the outcomes were impossible and could not happen, but nonetheless generated realistic and natural explanations for the outcomes. These findings show that 6- to 7-year-olds are strongly inclined to provide natural explanations. The findings are also informative about children’s judgments about whether outcomes are possible, and further suggest that asymmetries between children’s predictions and explanations may stem from differences in how these 2 forms of reasoning are constrained by possibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A unified framework for bounded and unbounded numerical estimation.


Representations of numerical value have been assessed by using bounded (e.g., 0–1,000) and unbounded (e.g., 0-?) number-line tasks, with considerable debate regarding whether 1 or both tasks elicit unique cognitive strategies (e.g., addition or subtraction) and require unique cognitive models. To test this, we examined how well a mixed log-linear model accounted for 86 5- to 9-year-olds’ estimates on bounded and unbounded number-line tasks and how well it predicted mathematical performance. Compared with mixtures of 4 alternative models, the mixed log-linear model better predicted 76% of individual children’s estimates on bounded number lines and 100% of children’s estimates on unbounded number lines. Furthermore, the distribution of estimates was fit better by a Bayesian log-linear model than by a Bayesian distributional model that depicted estimates as being anchored to varying number of reference points. Finally, estimates were generally more logarithmic on unbounded than bounded number lines, but logarithmicity scores on both tasks predicted addition and subtraction skills, whereas model parameters of alternative models failed to do so. Results suggest that the logarithmic-to-linear shift theory provides a simple, unified framework for numerical estimation with high descriptive adequacy and yields uniquely accurate predictions for children’s early math proficiency. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Analogical processes in children’s understanding of spatial representations.


We propose that map reading can be construed as a form of analogical mapping. We tested 2 predictions that follow from this claim: First, young children’s patterns of performance in map reading tasks should parallel those found in analogical mapping tasks; and, second, children will benefit from guided alignment instructions that help them see the relational correspondences between the map and the space. In 4 experiments, 3-year-olds completed a map reading task in which they were asked to find hidden objects in a miniature room, using a corresponding map. We manipulated the availability of guided alignment (showing children the analogical mapping between maps and spaces; Experiments 1, 2, and 3a), the format of guided alignment (gesture or relational language; Experiment 2), and the iconicity of maps (Experiments 3a and 3b). We found that (a) young children’s difficulties in map reading follow from known patterns of analogical development—for example, focusing on object similarity over relational similarity; and (b) guided alignment based on analogical reasoning led to substantially better performance. Results also indicated that children’s map reading performance was affected by the format of guided alignment, the iconicity of the maps, and the order of tasks. The results bear on the developmental mechanisms underlying young children’s learning of spatial representations and also suggest ways to support this learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The genetic architecture of oral language, reading fluency, and reading comprehension: A twin study from 7 to 16 years.


This study examines the genetic and environmental etiology underlying the development of oral language and reading skills, and the relationship between them, over a long period of developmental time spanning middle childhood and adolescence. It focuses particularly on the differential relationship between language and two different aspects of reading: reading fluency and reading comprehension. Structural equation models were applied to language and reading data at 7, 12, and 16 years from the large-scale TEDS twin study. A series of multivariate twin models show a clear patterning of oral language with reading comprehension, as distinct from reading fluency: significant but moderate genetic overlap between oral language and reading fluency (genetic correlation rg = .46–.58 at 7, 12, and 16) contrasts with very substantial genetic overlap between oral language and reading comprehension (rg = .81–.87, at 12 and 16). This pattern is even clearer in a latent factors model, fit to the data aggregated across ages, in which a single factor representing oral language and reading comprehension is correlated with—but distinct from—a second factor representing reading fluency. A distinction between oral language and reading fluency is also apparent in different developmental trajectories: While the heritability of oral language increases over the period from 7 to 12 to 16 years (from h² = .27 to .47 to .55), the heritability of reading fluency is high and largely stable over the same period of time (h² = .73 to .71 to .64). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Bidirectional influence between African American mothers’ and children’s racial centrality from elementary through high school.


For many African Americans, racial identity is an important aspect of their individual identity. We explored developmental change and stability of individual differences in the racial centrality of African American youths and their mothers as well as the relation between maternal and child racial centrality across time. African American youths (N = 380) and mothers completed surveys when youths were in grades 5, 7, 10, and 12. Mean levels of youths’ racial centrality did not increase or decrease across the 7 years of the study. The stability of individual differences in youths’ racial centrality increased across time, reaching adult levels by high school. Cross-lagged panel analyses showed relations between mothers’ and children’s racial centrality in middle adolescence but not in early and late adolescence. Results document that the importance of race to the personal identities of African American youths does not show normative developmental change across adolescence, and only minimal change is linked to maternal influence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescents’ intergenerational narratives across cultures.


Adolescents’ intergenerational narratives—the stories they tell about their mothers’ and fathers’ early experiences—are an important component of their identities (Fivush & Merrill, 2016; Merrill & Fivush, 2016). This study explored adolescents’ intergenerational narratives across cultures. Adolescents aged 12 to 21 from 3 cultural groups in New Zealand (Chinese: n = 88; Māori: n = 91; European: n = 91) narrated stories about their mothers’ and fathers’ childhood experiences. In these narratives, New Zealand Chinese and Māori adolescents included more identity connections (statements linking their own identities to their parents’ experiences) than did New Zealand European adolescents, and New Zealand Chinese adolescents’ intergenerational narratives were more coherent than were New Zealand European and Māori adolescents’ narratives. New Zealand Chinese and Māori adolescents were also more likely to report didactic reasons for their mothers’ telling of the narratives, whereas New Zealand European adolescents were more likely to report reasons of sharing family history. Across cultures, but only in their mother narratives, adolescent girls included more references to subjective perspectives (emotions, evaluations, and cognitions) than did adolescent boys. Older adolescents also used more subjective perspective terms than younger adolescents. These findings suggest that intergenerational narratives serve different functions when adolescents across cultures explore their identities. These narratives may be especially important for adolescents growing up in cultures with an interdependent orientation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A longitudinal person-centered perspective on youth social support: Relations with psychological wellbeing.


Past research suggests that perceived social support from parents, teachers, and peers are all positively associated with wellbeing during adolescence. However, little longitudinal research has examined the implications of distinctive combinations of social support for developing adolescents. To address this limitation, we measured multiple dimensions of social support, psychological ill-health, and wellbeing in a sample of 2034 Australian adolescents (Mage = 13.7; 49.6% male) measured in Grades 8 and 11. Latent transition analyses identified a 6-profile solution for both waves of data, and revealed substantial inequality in perceived social support. Two “socially rich” profiles corresponded to 7% of the sample and had high social support (>1SD above sample mean) from at least two sources. (Fully Integrated; Parent and Peer Supported). In contrast, 25% of the sample was “socially poor,” having support that was between −.65 to −.86 SD below the sample mean for all 3 sources (Isolated profile). None of the other profiles (Peer Supported; Moderately Supported; Weakly Supported) had levels of support below −.37 SD from any source. Furthermore, almost all wellbeing problems were concentrated in the Isolated Profile, with negative effects more pronounced in Grade 11 than Grade 8. Despite feeling low parent and teacher support, adolescents in the Peer Supported profile felt strong peer support and average to above-average levels of wellbeing in Grades 8 and 11. However, they also had an 81% chance of making a negative transition to either the Isolated or Weakly Supported profiles in Grade 11. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A longitudinal twin study of general cognitive ability over four decades.


In this longitudinal study we examined the stability of general cognitive ability (GCA), as well as heterogeneity and genetic and environmental influences underlying individual differences in change. We investigated GCA from young adulthood through late midlife in 1,288 Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging participants at ages ∼20, ∼56, and ∼62 years. The correlations among the 3 occasions ranged from .73 to .85, reflecting substantial stability. The heritability was significant on each of the 3 occasions and ranged from .59 to .66. The influence of the shared environment was not significant at any of the ages. The genetic correlations across the 3 occasions ranged from .95 to .99 and did not differ significantly from 1.0. The nonshared environmental correlations ranged from .21 to .47. Latent growth curve analysis was applied to characterize trajectories over the 42-year period. Slope was significantly different from 0 and indicated that there was modest change over time. There was a significant genetic influence on initial level of GCA (h2 = .67), but not change (h2 = .23). Genetic factors primarily contribute to stability, while change reflects the influence of nonshared environmental influences. There was a significant negative correlation between initial level of GCA and change (r = −.31). Latent class growth analysis identified 4 trajectories. In general, the 4 groups followed parallel trajectories and were differentiated mainly by differences in AFQT performance level at the time of military induction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

"Hard-earned wisdom: Exploratory processing of difficult life experience is positively associated with wisdom": Correction to Weststrate and Glück (2017).


Reports an error in "Hard-earned wisdom: Exploratory processing of difficult life experience is positively associated with wisdom" by Nic M. Weststrate and Judith Glück (Developmental Psychology, 2017[Apr], Vol 53[4], 800-814). The affiliation of Nic M. Weststrate was inadvertently set as “Relationships and Life Experiences” in the article byline. It should have been “University of Toronto”. The online version of this article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2017-12497-007.) Laypersons and experts believe that wisdom is cultivated through a diverse range of positive and negative life experiences. Yet, not all individuals with life experience are wise. We propose that one possible determinant of growth in wisdom from life experience is self-reflection. In a life span sample of adults (N = 94) ranging from 26 to 92 years of age, we examined wisdom’s relationship to self-reflection by investigating “why” people report reflecting on the past (i.e., reminiscence functions) and “how” they reflect within autobiographical memories of difficult life events (i.e., autobiographical reasoning). We assessed wisdom using self-report, performance, and nomination approaches. Results indicated that wisdom was unrelated to the frequency of self-reflection; however, wiser people differed from others in their (a) reasons for reminiscence and (b) mode of autobiographical reasoning. Across 3 methods for assessing wisdom, wisdom was positively associated with exploratory processing of difficult life experience (meaning-making, personal growth), whereas redemptive processing (positive emotional reframing, event resolution) was positively associated with adjustment. This study suggests that developmental pathways in the wake of adversity may be partially determined by how individuals self-reflectively process significant life experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Cultural context shapes essentialist beliefs about religion.


The present study investigates the processes by which essentialist beliefs about religious categories develop. Children (ages 5 and 10) and adults (n = 350) from 2 religious groups (Jewish and Christian), with a range of levels of religiosity, completed switched-at-birth tasks in which they were told that a baby had been born to parents of 1 religion but raised by parents of another religion. Results indicated that younger children saw religion-based categories as possible essential kinds, regardless of the child’s own religious background, but that culture-specific patterns emerged across development. This work shows that cultural context plays a powerful role in guiding the development of essentialist beliefs about religious categories. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Who needs innate ability to succeed in math and literacy? Academic-domain-specific theories of intelligence about peers versus adults.


Individuals’ implicit theories of intelligence exist on a spectrum, from believing intelligence is fixed and unchangeable, to believing it is malleable and can be improved with effort. A belief in malleable intelligence leads to adaptive responses to challenge and higher achievement. However, surprisingly little is known about the development of academic-domain-specific theories of intelligence (i.e., math vs. reading and writing). The authors examined this in a cross-section of students from 1st grade to college (N = 523). They also examined whether students hold different beliefs about the role of fixed ability in adult jobs versus their own grade. The authors’ adult-specific beliefs hypothesis states that when children learn societally held beliefs from adults, they first apply these beliefs specifically to adults and later to students their own age. Consistent with this, even the youngest students (1st and 2nd graders) believed that success in an adult job requires more fixed ability in math than reading and writing. However, when asked about students in their own grade, only high school and college students reported that math involves more fixed ability than reading and writing. High school and college students’ math-specific theories of intelligence were related to their motivation and achievement in math, controlling for reading and writing-specific theories. Reading and writing-specific theories did not predict reading and writing-specific motivations or achievement, perhaps because students perceive reading and writing as less challenging than math. In summary, academic-domain-specific theories of intelligence develop early but may not become self-relevant until adolescence, and math-specific beliefs may be especially important targets for intervention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)