Early life stress and behavior problems in early childhood: Investigating the contributions of child temperament and executive functions to resilience

Donna A. de Maat*, Isabel K. Schuurmans, Joran Jongerling, Stephen A. Metcalf, Nicole Lucassen, Ingmar H.A. Franken, Peter Prinzie, Pauline W. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

This preregistered study examined whether child temperament and executive functions moderated the longitudinal association between early life stress (ELS) and behavior problems. In a Dutch population-based cohort (n = 2803), parents reported on multiple stressors (age 0–6 years), child temperament (age 5), and executive functions (age 4), and teachers rated child internalizing and externalizing problems (age 7). Results showed that greater ELS was related to higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems, with betas reflecting small effects. Lower surgency buffered the positive association of ELS with externalizing problems, while better shifting capacities weakened the positive association between ELS and internalizing problems. Other child characteristics did not act as moderators. Findings underscore the importance of examining multiple protective factors simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalChild Development
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Keywords

  • CUMULATIVE RISK
  • DEPRESSION
  • EFFORTFUL CONTROL
  • EMOTIONALITY
  • EXTERNALIZING SYMPTOMS
  • MODERATION
  • PREDICTORS
  • PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
  • SENSITIVITY
  • SOCIAL COMPETENCE

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