Influences of parenting, emotion socialization, and biobehavioral functioning in infancy on the development of children’s conduct problems and callous-unemotional behaviors Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Wagner, Nicholas
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Etiological models of externalizing psychopathology emphasize the importance of incorporating multiple levels of influence and accounting for interactions between and within both biological and environmental factors. Informed by these views, this dissertation examines how caregiving experiences in infancy contribute to the development of conduct problems (CP) and callous-unemotional (CU) behaviors, as well as the extent to which children’s physiological functioning and behavioral reactivity moderate and/or mediate these associations. Despite many commonalities, youth exhibiting antisocial behavior comprise heterogeneous groups that show great variability in etiology and behavioral manifestation. CP encapsulates both oppositional defiant and conduct disordered behaviors, whereas CU behaviors describe affective, emotional, and interpersonal deficits. Findings suggest that a diversity of parenting experiences, including emotion socialization practices, in the first six months of life play an important role in the development of CP and CU behaviors. Further, both baseline cortisol and cortisol reactivity were found to moderate the associations between multiple indices of maternal caregiving in infancy and later CP and CU behaviors, contributing to literature which identifies heightened psychobiological stress response as a potential susceptibility factor. This dissertation integrates multiple levels of influence including biology and the environment, considers both direct and interactive associations between early risk factors, and provides preliminary evidence that there exists multiple pathways to disordered behavior.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Youngstrom, Eric
  • Mills-Koonce, Roger
  • Bauer, Daniel
  • Shanahan, Lilly
  • Cox, Martha
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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