Subscribe: Developmental Psychology - Vol 44, Iss 2
Preview: Developmental Psychology - Vol 44, Iss 2

Developmental Psychology - Vol 52, Iss 12

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

Last Build Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:00:06 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Comparing within-person effects from multivariate longitudinal models.


Several multivariate models are motivated to answer similar developmental questions regarding within-person (intraindividual) effects between 2 or more constructs over time, yet the within-person effects tested by each model are distinct. In this article, the authors clarify the types of within-person inferences that can be made from each model. Whereas previous research has focused on detecting whether within-person effects exist over development, the present work can be used to understand the nature of these relationships. The authors compare each modeling approach using an example investigating the concurrent development of mother–child closeness and mother–child conflict. The findings demonstrate that fundamentally different conclusions about developmental processes may be reached depending on which model is used, and a framework is demonstrated for making sense of seemingly contradictory findings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescent psychosocial development: A review of longitudinal models and research.


This review used 4 types of longitudinal models (descriptive models, prediction models, developmental sequence models and longitudinal mediation models) to identify regular patterns of psychosocial development in adolescence. Eight patterns of adolescent development were observed across countries: (1) adolescent maturation in multiple developmental domains; (2) heterogeneous continuity of personal relationships; (3) good goes together with good, and bad with bad, across time in adolescence; (4) parents transmit values and behaviors to their adolescent children over time; (5) adolescent psychopathology leads to erosion of personal relationships with parents and peers; (6) adolescent psychopathology prevents adolescent independence from parents; (7) parental interference in personal issues of adolescents has counterproductive effects over time; (8) mood variability and (social and personal) uncertainty are mechanisms that maintain psychopathology in adolescence. Principles of life span developmental psychology are used to discuss adolescent maturation, and a developmental contextual perspective is used to discuss links between the various developmental patterns. Strengths and limitations of the various longitudinal models, and links between longitudinal and experimental research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Temporal ordering effects of adolescent depression, relational aggression, and victimization over six waves: Fully latent reciprocal effects models.


The temporal ordering of depression, aggression, and victimization has important implications for theory, policy, and practice. For a representative sample of high school students (Grades 7–10; N = 3,793) who completed the same psychometrically strong, multiitem scales 6 times over a 2-year period, there were reciprocal effects between relational-aggression and relational-victimization factors: aggression led to subsequent victimization and victimization led to subsequent aggression. After controlling for prior depression, aggression, and victimization, depression had a positive effect on subsequent victimization, but victimization had no effect on subsequent depression. Aggression neither affected nor was affected by depression. The results suggest that depression is a selection factor that leads to victimization, but that victimization has little or no effect on subsequent depression beyond what can be explained by the preexisting depression. In support of developmental equilibrium, the results were consistent across the 6 waves. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The quest for identity in adolescence: Heterogeneity in daily identity formation and psychosocial adjustment across 5 years.


Identity formation is one of the key developmental tasks in adolescence. According to Erikson (1968) experiencing identity uncertainty is normative in adolescence. However, empirical studies investigating identity uncertainty on a daily basis are lacking. Hence, studying individual differences in daily certainty (i.e., identity commitment levels) and uncertainty (i.e., identity commitment fluctuations and identity reconsideration) in the identity formation process may advance our knowledge about the extent to which adolescents’ identity uncertainty is part of normative identity development. Therefore, this longitudinal study examined heterogeneity in certainty and uncertainty dynamics of adolescents’ daily identity formation using a longitudinal microlevel approach. Dutch adolescents (N = 494; Mage = 13.03 years at T1; 56.7% boys) reported on 2 key dimensions of identity formation (i.e., commitment and reconsideration) in both the educational and interpersonal domain on a daily basis for 3 weeks within 1 year, across 5 successive years. Multivariate latent class growth analyses suggested both in the educational and interpersonal identity domain a class of adolescents displaying a “crisis-like” identity formation process, and an “identity synthesis” class. Classes revealed differential development of (global and school) anxiety, aggression, and best friend support. Taken together, the present study confirmed Erikson’s notion that experiencing daily identity uncertainty is common during adolescence. However, a substantial amount of adolescents also showed a process toward identity maturation already during adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Tracking affect and academic success across university: Happy students benefit from bouts of negative mood.


We examined how positive and negative affect covary within individuals over time and how patterns of association between affective traits and states relate to academic success across 4 years of university. Participants were 187 full-time first-year students at a large Canadian university who completed questionnaires about recent affective experiences in 6 waves across 4 years. Grade point average for each year of study was provided by the registrar’s office. Our analysis identified an adaptive pattern characterized by the maintenance of high positive affect (“chronic happiness”) and the cooccurrence of time-limited bouts of negative affect. Our results are consistent with findings showing productive consequences of experiencing positive and negative affect in tandem and the development of emotion regulation capacity across the transition to adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The developmental course of supportive dyadic coping in couples.


Drawing from a relational developmental systems (RDS) perspective (Lerner, Agans, DeSouza, & Gasca, 2013) and data from 1,427 continuously partnered young adult and midlife mixed-sex couples over the first 5 years of the German Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam), this study examined the developmental course of supportive dyadic coping, or the frequency with which one provides practical and emotional support when his or her partner encounters stress. Latent change score (LCS) modeling results revealed that supportive dyadic coping gradually declined for both male and female partners, but there was significant diversity underlying these trajectories. Higher levels of supportive dyadic coping were associated with a more gradual decline in support provided by a partner. Among young adults, a more rapid decline in male partner supportive dyadic coping predicted a slower rate of decline in support from female partners. Finally, we considered possible bidirectional relations between contextual stressors and supportive dyadic coping trajectories. Providing higher levels of support predicted a more gradual decline in self-rated health for male partners. Having more children and experiencing economic pressure predicted steeper declines in supportive dyadic coping over time for both male and female partners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The unique roles of intrapersonal and social factors in adolescent smoking development.


Adolescence is a vulnerable period for the initiation and peak of many harmful risk-taking behaviors such as smoking, which is among the most addictive and deadliest behaviors. Generic metatheories like the theory of triadic influence (TTI) suggest that interrelated risk factors across multiple domains (i.e., intrapersonal and social/environmental) jointly contribute to adolescent smoking behavior. Yet, studies are lacking that investigate risk factors across different domains in the same study, which obscures whether each makes a unique contribution to the increase in smoking throughout adolescence or whether there is overlap across the domains. Hence, to fill this gap using a latent growth approach, the current accelerated longitudinal study investigated the collective contribution of multiple intrapersonal and social risk factors in the development of smoking behavior from ages 12 to 17 in 574 ethnically diverse Dutch adolescents. Results from the latent growth model showed that whereas the contribution of motivational-intrapersonal factors like sensation-seeking was no longer significant in the stringent multivariate model, higher levels of impulsivity (cognitive-intrapersonal) and overt peer pressure (social) at age 12 proved to be robust and unique predictors of linear increases in adolescent smoking up until age 17. Consistent with the TTI, adolescent smoking progression does not occur in isolation and the determinants are wide-ranging as they stem from both intrapersonal and social domains. Thus focusing on such confluence of intrapersonal and social risk factors via prevention programs from as young as age 12 might halt the deadly increase in smoking behavior throughout adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

What drives developmental change in adolescent disclosure and maternal knowledge? Heterogeneity in within-family processes.


This study aimed to gain a better understanding of the normative declines in adolescent disclosure and maternal knowledge over the course of adolescence, by assessing the underlying monitoring processes. Multilevel structural equation models were applied to 15 assessments among 479 families across 5 years (13 years at T1, 57% boys, 11% low socioeconomic status). Developmental declines in mother-perceived disclosure and knowledge were observed, which were partially explained by processes operating at the level of the family unit. On average, mothers were more knowledgeable in weeks with more disclosure and more solicitation, and adolescent disclosure was higher in weeks with more maternal solicitation and less control. The effect sizes and even the directions of these within-family correlations varied between families, however. This heterogeneity was partially explained by the level of maternal control and adolescent disclosure, and by the families’ socioeconomic status. Within-family fluctuations in knowledge and disclosure were also correlated with fluctuations in relationship quality and adolescent and mother mood. Overall, these within-family processes explained up to 14% of the normative developmental decline in disclosure and 19% of the decline in knowledge. This study thus suggests that a wide variety in monitoring processes may drive normative declines in adolescent disclosure and maternal knowledge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Housework time from middle childhood through adolescence: Links to parental work hours and youth adjustment.


The developmental course, family correlates, and adjustment implications of youth housework participation from age 8–18 were examined. Mothers, fathers, and 2 siblings from 201 European American families provided questionnaire and/or daily diary data on 6 occasions across 7 years. Multilevel modeling within an accelerated longitudinal design revealed that girls spent more time on housework than did boys, but that housework time of both girls and boys increased from middle childhood to mid-adolescence and leveled off thereafter. In years when mothers were employed for more hours than usual, girls, but not boys, spent more time on housework than usual. Housework time was linked to more depressive symptoms (at a between-person level) and predicted lower school grades (at a within-person level) for youth with low familism values. Housework time also predicted more depressive symptoms (at a within-person level) for youth with high parent–youth conflict about housework. Findings highlight the gendered nature of housework allocation and the importance of considering both individual and contextual factors when examining youth daily activities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The role of cognitive processes, foundational math skill, and calculation accuracy and fluency in word-problem solving versus prealgebraic knowledge.


The purpose of this study was to examine child-level pathways in development of prealgebraic knowledge versus word-problem solving, while evaluating the contribution of calculation accuracy and fluency as mediators of foundational skills/processes. Children (n = 962; mean 7.60 years) were assessed on general cognitive processes and early calculation, word-problem, and number knowledge at start of Grade 2; calculation accuracy and calculation fluency at end of Grade 2; and prealgebraic knowledge and word-problem solving at end of Grade 4. Important similarities in pathways were identified, but path analysis also indicated that language comprehension is more critical for later word-problem solving than prealgebraic knowledge. We conclude that pathways in development of these forms of 4th-grade mathematics performance are more alike than different, but demonstrate the need to fine-tune instruction for strands of the mathematics curriculum in ways that address individual students’ foundational mathematics skills or cognitive processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Can student engagement serve as a motivational resource for academic coping, persistence, and learning during late elementary and early middle school?


How children and youth deal with academic challenges and setbacks can make a material difference to their learning and school success. Hence, it is important to investigate the factors that allow students to cope constructively. A process model focused on students’ motivational resources was used to frame a study examining whether engagement in the classroom shapes students’ academic coping, and whether coping in turn contributes to subsequent persistence on challenging tasks and learning, which then feed back into ongoing engagement. In fall and spring of the same school year, 880 children in 4th through 6th grades and their teachers completed measures of students’ engagement and disaffection in the classroom, and of their re-engagement in the face of obstacles and difficulties; students also reported on 5 adaptive and 6 maladaptive ways of academic coping; and information on a subset of students’ classroom grades was collected. Structural analyses, incorporating student-reports, teacher-reports, and their combination, indicated that the model of motivational processes was a good fit for time-ordered data from fall to spring. Multiple regressions examining each step in the process model also indicated that it was the profile of coping responses, rather than any specific individual way of coping, that was most centrally connected to changes in engagement and persistence. Taken together, findings suggest that these internal dynamics may form self-perpetuating cycles that could cement or augment the development of children’s motivational resilience and vulnerability across time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Sleep spindles and intelligence in early childhood–developmental and trait-dependent aspects.


Sleep spindles act as a powerful marker of individual differences in cognitive ability. Sleep spindle parameters correlate with both age-related changes in cognitive abilities and with the age-independent concept of IQ. While some studies have specifically demonstrated the relationship between sleep spindles and intelligence in young children, our previous work in older subjects revealed sex differences in the sleep spindle correlates of IQ, which was never investigated in small children before. We investigated the relationship between age, Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM) scores and sleep spindles in 28 young children (age 4–8 years, 15 girls). We specifically investigated sex differences in the psychometric correlates of sleep spindles. We also aimed to separate the correlates of sleep spindles that are because of age-related maturation from other effects that reflect an age-independent relationship between sleep spindles and general intelligence. Our results revealed a modest positive correlation between fast spindle amplitude and age. Raven CPM scores positively correlated with both slow and fast spindle amplitude, but this effect remained a tendency in males and vanished after correcting for the effects of age. Age-corrected correlations between Raven CPM scores and both slow and fast spindle amplitude were only significant in females. Overall, our results show that in male children sleep spindles are a maturational marker, but in female children they indicate trait-like intelligence, in line with previous studies in adolescent and adult subjects. Thalamocortical white matter connectivity may be the underlying mechanism behind both higher spindle amplitude and higher intelligence in female, but not male subjects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Young children’s core symbolic and nonsymbolic quantitative knowledge in the prediction of later mathematics achievement.


At the beginning of preschool (M = 46 months of age), 197 (94 boys) children were administered tasks that assessed a suite of nonsymbolic and symbolic quantitative competencies as well as their executive functions, verbal and nonverbal intelligence, preliteracy skills, and their parents’ education level. The children’s mathematics achievement was assessed at the end of preschool (M = 64 months). We used a series of Bayesian and standard regression analyses to winnow this broad set of competencies down to the core subset of quantitative skills that predict later mathematics achievement, controlling other factors. This knowledge included children’s fluency in reciting the counting string, their understanding of the cardinal value of number words, and recognition of Arabic numerals, as well as their sensitivity to the relative quantity of 2 collections of objects. The results inform theoretical models of the foundations of children’s early quantitative development and have practical implications for the design of early interventions for children at risk for poor long-term mathematics achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Variation in impacts of Tulsa pre-K on cognitive development in kindergarten: The role of instructional support.


Public prekindergarten (pre-K) programs have been a recent focus of policy and research attention, in part because of their empirically documented, positive short-term impacts on child cognitive development and school readiness. However, no studies have explored factors that might explain variation across schools in public pre-K impacts. The current study examines the Tulsa Public School pre-K program’s impacts on children’s letter-word identification, spelling, and applied problem-solving skills at kindergarten entry. Findings reveal substantial across-school variation in treatment impacts, associated with variation in instructional support. Results are robust to sensitivity checks and are discussed alongside implications for policy and future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Sources of developmental change in the efficiency of information search.


Children are active learners: they learn not only from the information people offer and the evidence they happen to observe, but by actively seeking information. However, children’s information search strategies are typically less efficient than those of adults. In two studies, we isolate potential sources of developmental change in how children (7- and 10-year-olds) and adults search for information. To do so, we develop a hierarchical version of the 20-questions game, in which participants either ask questions (Study 1) or test individual objects (Study 2) to discover which category of objects within a nested structure (e.g., animals, birds, or owls) has a novel property. We also develop a computational model of the task, which allows us to evaluate performance in quantitative terms. As expected, we find developmental improvement in the efficiency of information search. In addition, we show that participants’ performance exceeds random search, but falls short of optimal performance. We find mixed support for the idea that children’s inefficiency stems from difficulty thinking beyond the level of individual objects or hypotheses. Instead, we reveal a previously undocumented source of developmental change: Children are significantly more likely than adults to continue their search for information beyond the point at which a single hypothesis remains, and thus to ask questions and select objects associated with zero information gain. This suggests that one crucial source of developmental change in information search efficiency lies in children’s “stopping rules.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Developing knowledge of nonadjacent dependencies.


Characterizing the nature of linguistic representations and how they emerge during early development is a central goal in the cognitive science of language. One area in which this development plays out is in the acquisition of dependencies—relationships between co-occurring elements in a word, phrase, or sentence. These dependencies often involve multiple levels of representation and abstraction, built up as infants gain experience with their native language. The authors used the Headturn Preference Procedure to systematically investigate the early acquisition of 1 such dependency, the agreement between a subject and verb in French, at 6 different ages between 14 and 24 months. The results reveal a complex developmental trajectory that provides the first evidence that infants might indeed progress through distinct stages in the acquisition of this nonadjacent dependency. The authors discuss how changes in general cognition and representational knowledge (from reflecting surface statistics to higher-level morphological features) might account for their findings. These findings highlight the importance of studying language acquisition at close time intervals over a substantial age range. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Perception of visual-tactile colocation in the first year of life.


An ability to perceive tactile and visual stimuli in a common spatial frame of reference is a crucial ingredient in forming a representation of one’s own body and the interface between bodily and external space. In this study, the authors investigated young infants’ abilities to perceive colocation between tactile and visual stimuli presented on the hands. They examined infants’ visual preferences for spatially congruent and incongruent visual-tactile events across two age groups (6 months and 10-months). They observed increased duration of looking to incongruent stimuli displays in both age groups, indicating that infants from at least 6 months of age demonstrate the ability to determine whether simultaneously presented visual-tactile perceptual events are colocated or not. These findings indicate that an ability to perceive visual and tactile stimuli within a common spatial frame of reference is available by the end of the first half year of life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Binding an event to its source at encoding improves children’s source monitoring.


Children learn information from a variety of sources and often remember the content but forget the source. Whereas the majority of research has focused on retrieval mechanisms for such difficulties, the present investigation examines whether the way in which sources are encoded influences future source monitoring. In Study 1, 86 children aged 3 to 8 years participated in 2 photography sessions on different days. Children were randomly assigned to either the Difference condition (they were asked to pay attention to differences between the 2 events), the Memory control condition (asked to pay attention with no reference to differences), or the No-Instruction control (no special instructions were given). One week later, during a structured interview about the photography session, the 3- to 4-year-olds in the No-Instruction condition were less accurate and responded more often with ‘do not know’ than the 7- to 8-year-olds. However, the older children in the Difference condition made more source confusions than the younger children suggesting improved memory for content but not source. In Study 2, the Difference condition was replaced by a Difference-Tag condition where details were pointed out along with their source (i.e., tagging source to content). Ninety-four children aged 3 to 8 years participated. Children in the Difference-Tag condition made fewer source-monitoring errors than children in the Control condition. The results of these 2 studies together suggest that binding processes at encoding can lead to better source discrimination of experienced events at retrieval and may underlie the rapid development of source monitoring in this age range. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)