Early physiological regulation predicts the trajectory of externalizing behaviors across the preschool period

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Esther M. Leerkes, Professor (Creator)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
Marion O'Brien, Professor, Director of Family Research Center and Associate Dean for Research (Creator)
Nicole Elizabeth Brown Perry (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Early assessments of children's physiological functioning are shown to predict subsequentdevelopmental outcomes. However, individual changes that occur in the development ofphysiological systems may be associated with the pattern of change in behavior across time.Thus, we examined change in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), an index of physiologicalregulation, as a time-varying predictor in order to assess whether RSA change at ages 3, 4, and 5uniquely influenced the trajectory of externalizing behaviors from age 3 to 5. Results indicatedthat only at age 3 was RSA change significantly associated with decreases in externalizingbehaviors over time. RSA change scores at ages 4 and 5 were unrelated to trajectories ofexternalizing behavior, suggesting that the ability to physiologically regulate by age 3 maycontribute to the development of skills that facilitate more control over behavior throughoutpreschool, and therefore may be more strongly associated with the pattern of change inexternalizing behaviors than later physiological regulation.

Additional Information

Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 1482-1491
Language: English
Date: 2014
externalizing behaviors, vagal tone, RSA, physiology, preschool

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