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Susan D. Calkins

I am interested in social and emotional development in infancy and early childhood. I currently have four ongoing collaborative research projects that involve following young children and their families to better understand early development. I am an investigator on a collaborative study through the Center for Developmental Science at Chapel Hill. This project, the Durham Child Health and Development Study , is funded by the National Science Foundation and is aimed at understanding child social, emotional, and cognitive development from infancy through age three. I serve as a Mentor Faculty at The Center for Developmental Science at Chapel Hill and am an Associate Editor for the journal Developmental Psychology. Education: B.A. Psychology (1983), Wellesley College; Ed.M. Human Development (1984), Harvard University; Ph.D. Psychology (1990), University of Maryland.

There are 65 included publications by Susan D. Calkins :

TitleDateViewsBrief Description
African American and European American Mothers' Beliefs About Negative Emotions and Emotion Socialization Practices 2012 121 Objective . The authors examined mothers’ beliefs about their children's negative emotions and their emotion socialization practices. Design . A total of 65 African American and 137 European American mothers of 5-year-old children reported their beli...
Behavioral and physiological antecedents of inhibited and uninhibited behavior. 1996 1888 4-month-old infants were specifically selected for patterns of affective and motoric reactivity that were hypothesized to be associated with later inhibited and uninhibited behavior. Infants were classified as high on motor activity and negative affe...
Being alone, playing alone and acting alone: Distinguishing among reticence, and passive- and active-solitude in young children. 1994 1224 Three forms of solitude were studied in young children—reticence (onlooker and unoecupied behavior), solitary-passive behavior (solitary-constructive and -exploratory play), and solitary-active behavior (solitary-functional and -dramatic play). 48 4-...
Biological, behavioral, and relational levels of resilience in the context of risk for early childhood behavior problems. 2007 736 Longitudinal growth patterns of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were examined in a community sample of 441 children across the ages of 2 to 5 using hierarchical linear modeling. Contextual risk was measured using five indicators (so...
Cardiac vagal regulation and early peer status. 2007 716 A sample of 341 5 ½ -year-old children participating in an ongoing longitudinal study was the focus of a study on the relation between cardiac vagal regulation and peer status. To assess cardiac vagal regulation, resting measures of respiratory sinus...
Cardiac vagal regulation to emotional challenge differentiates among child behavior problem subtypes. 2007 469 A sample of 335 five-year-old children participating in an ongoing longitudinal study was the focus of a study on the effects of emotional and behavioral challenge on cardiac activity in children with different patterns of early childhood behavior pr...
Cardiovascular Regulation Profile Predicts Developmental Trajectory of BMI and Pediatric Obesity 2011 359 The present study examined the role of cardiovascular regulation in predicting pediatric obesity. Participants for this study included 268 children (141 girls) obtained from a larger ongoing longitudinal study. To assess cardiac vagal regulation, res...
Continuity and Discontinuity of Behavioral Inhibition and Exuberance: Psychophysiological and Behavioral Influences across the First Four Years of Life. 2001 582 Four-month-old infants were screened (N = 433) for temperamental patterns thought to predict behavioral inhibition, including motor reactivity and the expression of negative affect. Those selected (N = 153) were assessed at multiple age points across...
Contributions of Child’s Physiology and Maternal Behavior to Children’s Trajectories of Temperamental Reactivity 2010 275 Trajectories of children’s temperamental reactivity (negative affectivity and surgency) were examined in a community sample of 370 children across the ages of 4 to 7 using Hierarchical Linear Modeling. Children’s physiological reactivity (respiratory...
The development of self-control of emotion: Intrinsic and extrinsic influences. 2003 916 In this paper, we review evidence that supports the notion that intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to the development self-control of emotions. Intrinsic factors include the infant’s temperament, and cognitive processes such as attention and ...
Developmental Dynamics of Emotion and Cognition Processes in Preschoolers 2012 20 Dynamic relations during the preschool years across processes of control and understanding in the domains of emotion and cognition were examined. Participants were 263 children (42% non-White) and their mothers who were seen first when the children w...
Developmental origins of early antisocial behavior 2009 240 Early antisocial behavior has its origins in childhood behavior problems, particularly those characterized by aggressive and destructive behavior. Deficits in self-regulation across multiple domains of functioning, from the physiological to the cog...
Developmental transitions as windows on parental socialization of emotions. 1999 694 Eisenberg, Cumberland, and Spinrad (1998) set forth a model of the socialization of emotion that is both broad in scope and specific in illustrative description. They pointed out that although assumptions have long been made about parents as socializ...
Differentiating Processes of Control and Understanding in the Early Development of Emotion and Cognition 2012 134 In this study, we examined the hypothesis that preschoolers' performance on emotion and cognitive tasks is organized into discrete processes of control and understanding within the domains of emotion and cognition. Additionally, we examined the relat...
Do aggressive/destructive toddlers lack concern for others? Behavioral and physiological indicators of empathic responding in 2-year-old children 2003 1366 Ninety-nine 2-year-olds, out of a larger sample of 474 children, were classified as high (n = 49) or low (n = 50) in externalizing (aggressive/destructive) behaviors based on maternal reports assessed twice across a 2-month period. During a laborator...
Does imitation facilitate the acquisition of grammar? Evidence from a study of autistic, Down's syndrome and normal children. 1990 1859 This paper re-opens the question of whether imitation plays a sig-nificant role in the acquisition of grammar. Data for this study came from four samples of naturalistic mother-child speech taken over the course of one year from four autistic, four D...
The double-edged sword: Emotion regulation in high risk children. 1996 5888 The capacity to manage emotion is based on the growth of self-regulatory capacities in the early years, but is also affected by situational demands, influences from other people, and the child's goals for regulating emotion in a particular setting. F...
Electroencephalogram and Heart Rate Measures of Working Memory at 5 and 10 Months of Age 2012 37 We recorded electroencephalogram (EEG; 6–9 Hz) and heart rate (HR) from infants at 5 and 10 months of age during baseline and performance on the looking A-not-B task of infant working memory (WM). Longitudinal baseline-to-task comparisons revealed WM...
Emotional reactivity and emotion regulation strategies as predictors of social behavior with peers during toddlerhood. 1999 5128 Fifty-six mothers and their 24-month-old toddlers were observed on two occasions in a series of laboratory procedures designed to assess relations between emotional functioning (emotional reactivity and emotion regulation) in an individual assessment...
Emotionality, emotion regulation and preschooler’s social adaptation. 1995 5387 It was proposed that the interaction between the constructs of emotion regulation and social interaction would predict social adaptation in preschoolers. Ninety-six 4-year-olds were observed in quartets of unfamiliar same-sex peers. Based on parent t...
Externalizing problems in two-year-olds: Implications for patterns of social behavior and peers’ responses to aggression. 1999 877 A sample of 48 two-year-old children selected on the basis of parents' responses to two administrations of the Child Behavior Checklist for two to three-year-olds was observed in peer interactions. Twenty-four of these children displayed symptoms of ...
Family Stress and Parental Responses to Children’s Negative Emotions: Tests of the Spillover, Crossover, and Compensatory Hypotheses 2009 410 The relations between 4 sources of family stress (marital dissatisfaction, home chaos, parental depressive symptoms, and job role dissatisfaction) and the emotion socialization practice of mothers’ and fathers’ responses to children’s negative emotio...
Frontal activation asymmetry and social competence at four years of age: Left frontal hyper and hypo activation as correlates of social behavior in preschool children. 1995 641 The pattern of frontal activation as measured by the ongoing electroencephalogram (EEG) may be a marker for individual differences in infant and adult disposition to respond with either positive or negative affect. We studied 48 4-year-old children w...
Frustration in infancy: Implications for emotion regulation, physiological processes, and temperament. 2002 2265 A study sample of 162 six-month-old children was selected from a larger sample of 346 infants on the basis of parents’ report of their infants’ temperament and a laboratory assessment of temperament. Infants were classified as easily frustrated and l...
Gene – Environment Contributions to the Development of Infant Vagal Reactivity: The Interaction of Dopamine and Maternal Sensitivity 2008 611 This study investigated dopamine receptor genes (DRD2 and DRD4) and maternal sensitivity as predictors of infant respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and RSA reactivity, purported indices of vagal tone and vagal regulation, in a challenge task at 3, 6,...
Individual differences in trajectories of emotion regulation processes: The effects of maternal depressive symptomatology and children’s physiological regulation. 2008 1072 Trajectories of emotion regulation processes were examined in a community sample of 269 children across the ages of 4 to 7 using hierarchical linear modeling. Maternal depressive symptomatology (Symptom Checklist–90) and children’s physiological reac...
Infant and parent factors associated with early maternal sensitivity: A caregiver-attachment systems approach. 2007 1137 We examined variations in maternal sensitivity at 6 months of child age as a function of child negativity and maternal physiology. We expected maternal vagal withdrawal in response to infant negative affect to facilitate the maintenance of sensitivit...
The Infant Crying Questionnaire: Initial factor structure and validation 2012 93 The current project reports on an initial investigation into the factor structure of the Infant Crying Questionnaire (ICQ), a measure designed to assess parental beliefs about infant crying, in a sample of 259 primiparous mothers. Exploratory factor ...
Infants' vagal regulation in the still-face paradigm is related to dyadic coordination of mother-infant interaction 2004 625 The authors investigated relations between mother–infant dyadic coordination and infants’ physiological responses. Mothers (N = 73) and 3-month-old male and female infants were observed in the still-face paradigm, and mothers’ and infants’ affective ...
Links between Family Social Status and Preschoolers' Persistence: The Role of Maternal Values and Quality of Parenting 2012 149 Children who develop persistence in the preschool years are likely to function more effectively during the transition into school. In this study of 231 3-year-old children and their mothers, we examined the relations among family social status, mater...
Longitudinal Associations Between Children's Understanding of Emotions and Theory of Mind 2011 116 Theory of mind competence and knowledge of emotions were studied longitudinally in a sample of preschoolers aged 3 (n=263) and 4 (n=244) years. Children were assessed using standard measures of theory of mind and emotion knowledge. Three competing hy...
A longitudinal study of language acquisition in autistic and Down syndrome children. 1990 7070 Findings from a longitudinal study of language acquisition in a group of autistic children are presented. Six autistic subjects and six children with Down syndrome, matched on age and MLU at the start of the study, were followed over a period of betw...
Maternal Expressive Style and Children's Emotional Development 2012 66 Maternal expressive styles, based on a combination of positive and negative expressive patterns, were identified at two points in time and related to multiple aspects of preschool children's emotional development. Mother–child pairs from 260 families...
Maternal interactive style across contexts: Relations to emotional, behavioral and physiological regulation during toddlerhood. 1998 2545 Sixty-five mothers and their 24-month-old toddlers were observed in a series of laboratory procedures designed to assess relations between maternal interactive style and emotional, behavioral and physiological regulation. Emotional regulation was ass...
Measures of frontal functioning and the emergence of inhibitory control processes at 10 months of age 2012 108 During the first year, infants begin to exhibit initial evidence of working memory and inhibitory control in conjunction with substantial maturation of the frontal cortex and corresponding neural circuitry. Currently, relatively little is known about...
Moderate Vagal Withdrawal in 3.5-Year-Old Children is Associated with Optimal Performance on Executive Function Tasks 2010 210 Vagal tone (measured via respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) and vagal withdrawal (measured by decreases in RSA) have been identified as physiological measures of self-regulation, but little is known how they may relate to the regulation of cognitive ...
Mother –Infant Vagal Regulation in the Face-To-Face Still-Face Paradigm Is Moderated by Maternal Sensitivity 2009 446 Parents’ physiological regulation may support infants’ regulation. Mothers (N = 152) and 6-month-old male and female infants were observed in normal and disrupted social interaction. Affect was coded at 1-s intervals and vagal tone measured as respir...
Neural plasticity and development in the first two years of life: Evidence from cognitive and socioemotional domains of research. 1994 1522 Three models that can be used to investigate the effects of different environmental events on brain development and organization are explored. The insult model argues against brain plasticity, and the environmental model regards the brain as infinite...
Parent Involvement and Student Academic Performance: A Multiple Mediational Analysis 2010 865 Parent involvement in a child's education is consistently found to be positively associated with a child's academic performance. However, there has been little investigation of the mechanisms that explain this association. The present study examines ...
Parental ADHD Symptomology and Ineffective Parenting: The Connecting Link of Home Chaos 2010 401 Objective. This study examines links between maternal and paternal attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and parenting practices that require inhibition of impulses, sustained attention, and consistency; the role of home chaos in t...
Physiological and behavioral regulation in two-year-old children with aggressive/destructive behavior problems. 2000 4743 A sample of 99 two-year-old children was selected on the basis ofparents’ responses to two administrations ofthe Child Behavior Checklist for two- to three-year-olds. Forty-nine ofthese children displayed symptoms of aggressive/destructive (externali...
Predicting Cardiac Vagal Regulation in Early Childhood from Maternal–Child Relationship Quality during Toddlerhood 2008 516 The aim of this study was to examine the influence of maternal–child relationship quality during toddlerhood on early childhood physiological regulation. A community sample of 447 children (215 males) was recruited at age 2 for participation in the s...
Predicting change in parenting stress across early childhood: Child and maternal factors. 2007 1590 This study examined maternal parenting stress in a sample of 430 boys and girls including those at risk for externalizing behavior problems. Children and their mothers were assessed when the children were ages 2, 4, and 5. Hierarchical linear modelin...
Predicting emotional and social competence during early childhood from toddler risk and maternal behavior 2010 385 The longitudinal associations between maternal parenting behavior and toddler risk with children’s emotional and social competence were examined during the transition to kindergarten, in a sample of 253 children. Toddler risk was characterized by ear...
Predicting Kindergarten Peer Social Status From Toddler and Preschool Problem Behavior 2004 1271 The aim of this study was to investigate the toddler and preschool predictors of early peer social preference. Behavioral and social functioning were examined in a sample of children across the toddler and preschool years from parent and teacher obse...
Predicting stability and change in toddler behavior problems: Contributions of maternal behavior and child gender. 2004 1817 This study examined the stability and continuity of early-identified behavior problems and the factors associated with this stability. Children and their mothers (N = 125) were seen when the children were 2 and 4 years of age. Maternal reports of chi...
Preschool-aged children's understanding of gratitude: Relations with emotion and mental state knowledge 2012 176 Developmental precursors to children's early understanding of gratitude were examined. A diverse group of 263 children was tested for emotion and mental state knowledge at ages 3 and 4, and their understanding of gratitude was measured at age 5. Chil...
Profiles of Disruptive Behavior Across Early Childhood: Contributions of Frustration Reactivity, Physiological Regulation, and Maternal Behavior 2008 526 Disruptive behavior, including aggression, defiance, and temper tantrums, typically peaks in early toddlerhood and decreases by school entry; however, some children do not show this normative decline. The current study examined disruptive behavior in...
Profiles of externalizing behavior problems for boys and girls across preschool: The roles of emotion regulation and inattention. 2006 857 Although externalizing behavior typically peaks in toddlerhood and decreases by school entry, some children do not show this normative decline. A sample of 383 boys and girls was assessed at ages 2, 4, and 5 for externalizing behavior and at age 2 on...
Reassessing emotion regulation. 2008 1382 Developmental research on emotion regulation is increasingly advancing toward a systems view that integrates behavioral and biological constituents of emotional self-control. However, this view poses fundamental challenges to prevailing conceptualiza...
Regulatory Contributors to Children’s Kindergarten Achievement. 2003 3145 The present study sought to examine whether preschool children’s emotion regulation, problem behaviors, and kindergarten behavioral self-regulation in the classroom were predictors of kindergarten achievement scores. The children (N = 122, 47% male a...
The relation of maternal behavior and attachment security to toddler’s emotions and emotion regulation 2006 1236 In this study, we examined characteristics of the mother–child context that may support young children’s emotion expressions and emotion regulation. We observed children (N= 154) in four emotion-eliciting episodes to measure their emotion expressions...
The relation of maternal emotional and cognitive support during problem solving to pre-academic skills in preschoolers 2012 99 Using a sample of 263 mother–child dyads, we examined the extent to which maternal emotional and cognitive support during a joint problem-solving task when children were 3-years-old predicted children's academic skills 1 year later independent of eac...
The relations among infant temperament, security of attachment and behavioral inhibition at 24 months. 1992 1957 The purpose of this study was to examine the relations among infant temperament, attachment, and behavioral inhibition. 52 infants were seen at 2 days, 5, 14, and 24 months of age. Assessments were made of temperament at 2 days and 5 months of age, a...
Relationships as the inputs and outputs of relationships. 2000 614 The three target articles presented in this issue add to a growing body of literature in social psychology that focuses on the "executive function" of the self (Baumeister, 1998). That is, in these target articles the self is viewed as a regulator of...
The Role of Emotion Regulation and Children's Early Academic Success 2007 207 This study investigated the role of children's emotion regulation skills and academic success in kindergarten, using a sample of 325 five-year-old children. A mediational analysis addressed the potential mechanisms through which emotion regulation re...
The role of emotion regulation and the student-teacher relationship in children’s academic success. 2006 1004 This study investigated the role of emotion regulation in children's early academic success using a sample of 325 kindergarteners. A mediational analysis addressed the potential mechanisms through which emotion regulation relates to children's early ...
The role of frontal activation in the regulation and dysregulation of social behavior during the preschool year. 1996 1474 We examined whether the interaction of resting frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry and social behavior during peer play was related to the occurrence of maladaptive behavior in preschoolers. Two independent cohorts of children were observed ...
The Role of Persistence at Preschool Age in Academic Skills at Kindergarten 2013 200 The current study examined the role of preschoolers’ motivation, operationalized as persistence, in the formation of language and math skills at kindergarten. The participants were 263 children from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Demo...
Self-regulatory processes in early personality development: A multilevel approach to the study of childhood social withdrawal and aggression. 2002 1247 Self-regulatory processes are believed to be critical to early personality and behavioral adjustment. Such processes can be observed on multiple levels, including the physiological, attentional, emotional, cognitive, and interpersonal domains of func...
Shyness and Vocabulary: the Roles of Executive Functioning and Home Environmental Stimulation 2011 96 Although shyness has often been found to be negatively related to vocabulary, few studies have examined the processes that produce or modify this relation. The present study examined executive functioning skills and home environmental stimulation as ...
Temperament and externalizing behavior: Peer acceptance as a protective factor. 2008 1185 The construct of temperament is commonly viewed as the basic organization of personality, which is observable as early as infancy and becomes elaborated over the course of development as the individual's skills, abilities, cognitions, and motivations...
Testing a developmental cascade model of emotional and social competence and early peer acceptance 2010 305 A developmental cascade model of early emotional and social competence predicting later peer acceptance was examined in a community sample of 440 children across the ages of 2 to 7. Children’s externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, social skills...
Toddler regulation of distress to frustrating events: Temperamental and maternal correlates. 1998 1388 Seventy-three mothers and their 18-month-old toddlers were observed in a series of laboratory procedures designed to assess relations among physiological arousal, frustration distress, emotion regulation and maternal interactive style. Physiological ...
Trajectories of Peer Victimization: The Role of Multiple Relationships 2010 308 This study examined early elementary school children's trajectories of peer victimization with a sample of 218 boys and girls. Peer victimization was assessed (via peer report) in kindergarten and first, second, and fifth grades. Hierarchical linear ...