Affect presentation in infancy and toddlerhood as a predictor of later internalizing behaviors in early childhood

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marta Benito-Gomez (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anne Fletcher

Abstract: Affect representations during infancy have been associated with internalizing behaviors among children. However, few studies have examined the role of parenting practices in early childhood as shaping such associations. The current study used a large, population-stratified, randomly-selected sample of children living in rural areas under conditions of poverty to examine how positive and negative affect at 15 months was associated with internalizing behaviors at 58 months of age. Patterns of interaction between infant affects and positive and negative parenting behaviors at 24 were also examined and probed to determine whether these effects supported a diathesis stress model of early developmental processes related to later internalizing behaviors. Infant affect and parenting behaviors were measured using observational assessments and primary caregivers reported on children’s internalizing behaviors. Results indicated that positive parenting predicted lower levels of internalizing behaviors for all children. For European American children, lower levels of negative affect were associated with greater internalizing behaviors in the presence of low positive parenting. For African American children, more negative parenting was associated with higher levels of internalizing behaviors. These findings raise important questions regarding different levels of vulnerability to environmental influences among European American and African American young children and have the potential to inform interventions aimed at preventing and/or reducing internalizing behaviors.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Internalizing behaviors, Negative affect, Parenting, Positive affect
Infant psychology
Child psychology
Affect (Psychology)
Emotions in children
Parent and child $x Psychological aspects

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