Publications

In Press
Grisanzio, K. A., Sasse, S. F., Nook, E. C., Lambert, H. K., McLaughlin, K. A., & Somerville, L. H. (In Press). Voluntary pursuit of negatively valenced stimuli from childhood to early adulthood. Developmental Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Although common sense suggests that we are motivated to pursue positive and avoid negative experiences, previous research shows that people regularly seek out negative experiences. In the current study, we characterized this tendency from childhood to young adulthood. Due to the known increases in risky behavior and sensation seeking in adolescence, we hypothesized that adolescents would show an increased engagement with negatively valenced stimuli compared to children and adults. Participants aged 4–25 (N = 192) completed a behavioral task assessing motivation to engage with negative, positive, and neutral images. On each trial, participants viewed two small images and selected one to view at a larger size for up to 10s. Trials were organized into three valence conditions: negative versus positive images (matched on arousal), negative versus neutral images, and positive versus neutral images. Although participants chose positive images more than neutral or negative images, participants selected negative images frequently, even when given a positive (28% of trials) or neutral (42% of trials) alternative. Contrary to expectations, the tendency to choose negative images was highest in early childhood and decreased linearly with increasing age, and the tendency to choose positive images increased linearly with age. These results provide insight into how motivation to engage with emotional stimuli varies across age. It is possible that the novelty and rarity of negative experiences drives children to pursue these stimuli. Alternatively, children may find negative images less aversive, which would caution against assuming that these stimuli elicit the same motivational states in individuals of all ages.
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Colich, N. L., Rosen, M. L., Williams, E. S., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Biological aging in childhood and adolescence following experiences of threat and deprivation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin.Abstract
Life history theory argues that exposure to early life adversity (ELA) accelerates development, although existing evidence for this varies. We present a meta-analysis and systematic review testing the hypothesis that ELA involving threat (e.g., violence exposure) will be associated with accelerated biological aging across multiple metrics, whereas exposure to deprivation (e.g., neglect, institutional rearing) and low-socioeconomic status (SES) will not. We meta-analyze 54 studies (n = 116,010) examining associations of ELA with pubertal timing and cellular aging (telomere length and DNA methylation age), systematically review 25 studies (n = 3,253) examining ELA and neural markers of accelerated development (cortical thickness and amygdala-prefrontal cortex functional connectivity) and evaluate whether associations of ELA with biological aging vary according to the nature of adversity experienced. ELA overall was associated with accelerated pubertal timing (d = −0.10) and cellular aging (d = −0.21), but these associations varied by adversity type. Moderator analysis revealed that ELA characterized by threat was associated with accelerated pubertal development (d = −0.26) and accelerated cellular aging (d = −0.43), but deprivation and SES were unrelated to accelerated development. Systematic review revealed associations between ELA and accelerated cortical thinning, with threat-related ELA consistently associated with thinning in ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and deprivation and SES associated with thinning in frontoparietal, default, and visual networks. There was no consistent association of ELA with amygdala-PFC connectivity. These findings suggest specificity in the types of early environmental experiences associated with accelerated biological aging and highlight the importance of evaluating how accelerated aging contributes to health disparities and whether this process can be mitigated through early intervention. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
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Weissman, D. G., Lambert, H. K., Rodman, A. M., Peverill, M., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume as a mechanism underlying stress sensitization to depression following childhood trauma. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Background

Stressful life events are more likely to trigger depression among individuals exposed to childhood adversity. However, the mechanisms underlying this stress sensitization remain largely unknown. Any such mechanism must be altered by childhood adversity and interact with recent stressful life events, magnifying their association with depression.

Aim

This study investigated whether reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume are potential mechanisms underlying stress sensitization following childhood violence exposure.

Method

A sample of 149 youth (aged 8–17 years), with ( = 75) and without ( = 74) exposure to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence participated. Participants completed a structural MRI scan and assessments of depression. Approximately 2 years later, stressful life events were assessed along with depression symptoms in 120 participants (57 violence exposed).

Results

Childhood violence exposure was associated with smaller hippocampal and amygdala volume. Stressful life events occurring during the follow‐up period predicted worsening depression over time, and this association was magnified among those with smaller hippocampal and amygdala volumes. Significant moderated mediation models revealed the indirect effects of violence exposure on increasing depression over time through hippocampal and amygdala volumes, particularly among youths who experienced more stressful life events.

Conclusions

These results provide evidence for reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume as potential mechanisms of stress sensitization to depression following exposure to violence. More broadly, these patterns suggest that hippocampal and amygdala‐mediated emotional and cognitive processes may confer vulnerability to stressful life events among children who have experienced violence.

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Miller, A. B., Machlin, L., McLaughlin, K. A., & Sheridan, M. A. (In Press). Deprivation and psychopathology in the Fragile Families Study: A 15-year longitudinal investigation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background Early adversity consistently predicts youth psychopathology. However, the pathways linking unique dimensions of early adversity, such as deprivation, to psychopathology are understudied. Here, we evaluate a theoretical model linking early deprivation exposure with psychopathology prospectively through language ability. Methods Participants included 2,301 youth (47.5% female) enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. We include data from assessment points at ages 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15. Latent factors for deprivation and threat were modeled from multiple indicators at ages 1 and 3. Youth language ability was assessed at Age 5. Indicators of psychopathology were assessed at ages 5, 9, and 15. A structural equation model tested longitudinal paths to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology from experiences of deprivation and threat. Results Deprivation from birth to Age 3 was associated with an indirect effect on internalizing and externalizing symptoms in early childhood (Age 5), later childhood (Age 9), and adolescence (Age 15) via language ability in early childhood (Age 5). Early threat exposure was associated with increased internalizing and externalizing psychopathology across all ages. There was no significant indirect effect from threat to psychopathology via language ability. Conclusions The effects of deprivation on psychopathology during early childhood, late childhood, and adolescence are explained, in part, through early childhood language ability. Results provide insight into language ability as a possible opportunity for intervention.
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Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Alegría, M., Bettini, E., Gruber, M., Hoagwood, K., Tai, L. L., et al. (In Press). Associations of Sociodemographic Factors and Psychiatric Disorders With Type of School-Based Mental Health Services Received by Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health. Publisher's VersionAbstract
\textlessh2\textgreaterAbstract\textless/h2\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterPurpose\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterSchools provide access to mental health services for traditionally underserved youth. However, there is variability in the types of school-based services students receive (e.g., school counseling, services in separate classrooms, or schools serving students with psychiatric disorders). Prior research has typically not distinguished among these different types of school-based services. The present study examines sociodemographic characteristics and disorders associated with the types of services received in schools.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterMethods\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterData were analyzed from a sample of adolescent–parent pairs in the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement who received school mental health services (N = 1,204). DSM-IV diagnoses were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview administered to adolescents and questionnaires self-administered to parents. Adolescents (aged 13–18 years) and parents also responded to questions about lifetime school-based mental health service receipt.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterResults\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterAmong those receiving school-based mental health services, almost one-third (29.7%) received services in a separate classroom and almost one-fourth (22.3%) in a separate school. Increased likelihood of lifetime placement in a separate classroom or school was detected among older youth, males, blacks, Latinos, youth with learning disabilities, those whose parents had fewer years of education, and those who received community-based mental health services. Oppositional defiant disorder was associated with increased lifetime placement in a separate school.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterConclusions\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterThe results advance the evidence base by indicating that racial/ethnic minority youth and those whose parents have fewer years of education were more likely to receive school-based mental health services in separate settings. These results provide more context to studies of school-based mental health service receipt.\textless/p\textgreater
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Jenness, J. L., Peverill, M., Miller, A. B., Heleniak, C., Robertson, M. M., Sambrook, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., et al. (In Press). Alterations in neural circuits underlying emotion regulation following child maltreatment: a mechanism underlying trauma-related psychopathology. Psychological Medicine , 1–10.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Disruptions in neural circuits underlying emotion regulation (ER) may be a mechanism linking child maltreatment with psychopathology. We examined the associations of maltreatment with neural responses during passive viewing of negative emotional stimuli and attempts to modulate emotional responses. We investigated whether the influence of maltreatment on neural activation during ER differed across development and whether alterations in brain function mediated the association between maltreatment and a latent general psychopathology ('p') factor. METHODS: Youth aged 8-16 years with (n = 79) and without (n = 72) exposure to maltreatment completed an ER task assessing neural responses during passive viewing of negative and neutral images and effortful attempts to regulate emotional responses to negative stimuli. P-factor scores were defined by a bi-factor model encompassing internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. RESULTS: Maltreated youth had greater activation in left amygdala and salience processing regions and reduced activation in multiple regions involved in cognitive control (bilateral superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) when viewing negative v. neutral images than youth without maltreatment exposure. Reduced neural recruitment in cognitive control regions mediated the association of maltreatment with p-factor in whole-brain analysis. Maltreated youth exhibited increasing recruitment with age in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during reappraisal while control participants exhibited decreasing recruitment with age. Findings were similar after adjusting for co-occurring neglect. CONCLUSIONS: Child maltreatment influences the development of regions associated with salience processing and cognitive control during ER in ways that contribute to psychopathology.
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Bustamante, C. M. V., Rodman, A. M., Dennison, M. J., Flournoy, J. C., Mair, P., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Within-person fluctuations in stressful life events, sleep, and anxiety and depression symptoms during adolescence: a multiwave prospective study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background Adolescence is characterized by substantial changes in sleep behavior, heightened exposure to stressful life events (SLEs), and elevated risk for internalizing problems like anxiety and depression. Although SLEs are consistently associated with the onset of internalizing psychopathology, the mechanisms underlying this relationship remain poorly understood, especially at the within-person level. Here, we leverage a high-frequency longitudinal design to examine sleep as a potential mechanism linking SLEs to increases in anxiety and depression symptoms over a one-year period. Methods Thirty female adolescents aged 15–17 years completed 12 monthly in-laboratory assessments of exposure to SLEs and symptoms of anxiety and depression (n = 355 monthly assessments), and wore an actigraphy wristband for continuous monitoring of sleep for the duration of the study (n = 6,824 sleep days). Multilevel models examined concurrent and lagged within-person associations between SLEs, sleep duration and timing regularity, and anxiety and depression symptoms. Results Within-person fluctuations in SLEs were associated with variability in sleep duration both concurrently and prospectively, such that when adolescents experienced greater SLEs than was typical for them, they exhibited more variable sleep duration that same month as well as the following month. In turn, within-person increases in sleep duration variability predicted greater anxiety symptoms in the same month and mediated the association between SLEs and anxiety. Conclusions These findings highlight sleep disruptions as a mechanism underlying the longitudinal associations between SLEs and anxiety symptoms, and suggest that interventions promoting sleep schedule consistency may help mitigate risk for stress-related psychopathology in adolescence.
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Dennis, E. L., Disner, S. G., Fani, N., Salminen, L. E., Logue, M., Clarke, E. K., Haswell, C. C., et al. (In Press). Altered white matter microstructural organization in posttraumatic stress disorder across 3047 adults: results from the PGC-ENIGMA PTSD consortium. Molecular Psychiatry , 1–16. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A growing number of studies have examined alterations in white matter organization in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using diffusion MRI (dMRI), but the results have been mixed which may be partially due to relatively small sample sizes among studies. Altered structural connectivity may be both a neurobiological vulnerability for, and a result of, PTSD. In an effort to find reliable effects, we present a multi-cohort analysis of dMRI metrics across 3047 individuals from 28 cohorts currently participating in the PGC-ENIGMA PTSD working group (a joint partnership between the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis consortium). Comparing regional white matter metrics across the full brain in 1426 individuals with PTSD and 1621 controls (2174 males/873 females) between ages 18–83, 92% of whom were trauma-exposed, we report associations between PTSD and disrupted white matter organization measured by lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in the tapetum region of the corpus callosum (Cohen’s d = −0.11, p = 0.0055). The tapetum connects the left and right hippocampus, for which structure and function have been consistently implicated in PTSD. Results were consistent even after accounting for the effects of multiple potentially confounding variables: childhood trauma exposure, comorbid depression, history of traumatic brain injury, current alcohol abuse or dependence, and current use of psychotropic medications. Our results show that PTSD may be associated with alterations in the broader hippocampal network.
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Weissman, D. G., Jenness, J. L., Colich, N. L., Miller, A. B., Sambrook, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Altered Neural Processing of Threat-Related Information in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Violence: A Transdiagnostic Mechanism Contributing to the Emergence of Psychopathology. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , S0890856719319288. Publisher's VersionAbstract
{OBJECTIVE: Exposure to violence in childhood is associated with increased risk for multiple forms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. We evaluated how exposure to violence in early life influences neural responses to neutral and threat-related stimuli in childhood and adolescence, developmental variation in these associations, and whether these neural response patterns convey transdiagnostic risk for psychopathology over time. METHOD: Participants were 149 youth (75 female youth), ages 8 to 17 (M =12.8
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Sheridan, M. A., Shi, F., Miller, A. B., Salhi, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Network structure reveals clusters of associations between childhood adversities and development outcomes. Developmental Science , e12934. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Exposure to childhood adversity is common and associated with a host of negative developmental outcomes. The most common approach used to examine the consequences of adversity exposure is a cumulative risk model. Recently, we have proposed a novel approach, the dimensional model of adversity and psychopathology (DMAP), where different dimensions of adversity are hypothesized to impact health and well-being through different pathways. We expect deprivation to primarily disrupt cognitive processing, whereas we expect threat to primarily alter emotional reactivity and automatic regulation. Recent hypothesis-driven approaches provide support for these differential associations of deprivation and threat on developmental outcomes. However, it is not clear whether these patterns would emerge using data-driven approaches. Here we use a network analytic approach to identify clusters of related adversity exposures and outcomes in an initial study (Study 1: N = 277 adolescents aged 16–17 years; 55.1% female) and a replication (Study 2: N = 262 children aged 8–16 years; 45.4% female). We statistically compare our observed clusters with our hypothesized DMAP model and a clustering we hypothesize would be the result of a cumulative stress model. In both samples we observed a network structure consistent with the DMAP model and statistically different than the hypothesized cumulative stress model. Future work seeking to identify in the pathways through which adversity impacts development should consider multiple dimensions of adversity.
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Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking ACEs with psychopathology. In Adverse Childhood Experiences (pp. 265–285) . Elsevier. Publisher's Version PDF
Forthcoming
Weissman, D., Nook, E. C., Dews, A. A., Miller, A. B., Lambert, H., Sasse, S. F., Somerville, L., et al. (Forthcoming). Low Emotional Awareness as a Transdiagnostic Mechanism Underlying Psychopathology in Adolescence . PsyArXiv. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The ability to identify and label one’s emotions is a precursor to effective emotion regulation, suggesting that emotional awareness is important for mental health. We evaluated how emotional awareness was related to psychopathology and whether low emotional awareness was a transdiagnostic mechanism explaining the increase in psychopathology during the transition to adolescence and as a function of childhood trauma—specifically violence exposure. In Study 1, children and adolescents (N=120, aged 7-19 years) reported on emotional awareness and psychopathology. Emotional awareness was negatively associated with psychopathology (p-factor) and decreased across age in females but not males. In Study 2 (N=262, aged 8-16 years), we replicated these findings and demonstrated longitudinally that low emotional awareness mediated increases in p-factor as a function of age in females and violence exposure. These findings indicate that low emotional awareness may be a transdiagnostic mechanism linking adolescent development, sex, and trauma with the emergence of psychopathology.
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2020
Heleniak, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Social-cognitive mechanisms in the cycle of violence: Cognitive and affective theory of mind, and externalizing psychopathology in children and adolescents. Development and Psychopathology , 32 (2), 735-750. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Children who are victims of interpersonal violence have a markedly elevated risk of engaging in aggressive behavior and perpetrating violence in adolescence and adulthood. Although alterations in social information processing have long been understood as a core mechanism underlying the link between violence exposure and externalizing behavior, scant research has examined more basic social cognition abilities that might underlie this association. To that end, this study examined the associations of interpersonal violence exposure with cognitive and affective theory of mind (ToM), core social-cognitive processes that underlie many aspects of social information processing. In addition, we evaluated whether difficulties with ToM were associated with externalizing psychopathology. Data were collected in a community-based sample of 246 children and adolescents aged 8–16 who had a high concentration of exposure to interpersonal violence. Violence exposure was associated with lower accuracy during cognitive and affective ToM, and the associations persisted after adjusting for co-occurring forms of adversity characterized by deprivation, including poverty and emotional neglect. Poor ToM performance, in turn, was associated with externalizing behaviors. These findings shed light on novel pathways that increase risk for aggression in children who have experienced violence.
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Platt, J. M., Bates, L. M., Jager, J., McLaughlin, K. A., & Keyes, K. M. (2020). Changes in the depression gender gap from 1992 to 2014: Cohort effects and mediation by gendered social position. Social Science & Medicine , 258, 113088. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The depression gap (i.e., higher rates of depression among women than men) represents an important mental health disparity in the US. Differences in gendered social position (i.e., the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities available to women and men), which have been changing since the mid-20th Century may contribute to this gender gap. The present study examined the evidence for a changing depression gap across birth cohorts and tested the extent to which any changes over time were mediated by changes in relative social position between women and men. Data were from the National Longitudinal Surveys. The depression gap was defined as differences in mean CESD scores for women vs. men. The analytic sample included 13,666 respondents interviewed from 1992 to 2014. Hierarchical mixed models estimated the magnitude of the gender depression gap over time, its association with 10-year birth cohort (range: 1957–1994), and whether any variation was mediated by ratios among women relative to men of obtaining a college degree, being employed full-time, and the average number of hours spent doing housework per week, three indicators of gendered social position. There was a linear decrease in the depression gap by 0.18 points across birth cohort (95% CI = −0.26, −0.10). The results of the mediation analysis estimated that an increasing ratio of college degree attainment mediated 39% of the gender depression gap across cohorts (95% CI = 0.18, 0.78). There was no evidence of mediation due to changing employment or housework ratios. These findings partially support the hypothesis that the depression gap is changing over time and is meaningfully related to the social environment. Understanding the social causes of the depression gap can illuminate the fundamental processes through which depression disparities may be perpetuated or attenuated over time and may aid in the identification of strategies to reduce them.
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McLaughlin, K. A., Colich, N. L., Rodman, A. M., & Weissman, D. G. (2020). Mechanisms linking childhood trauma exposure and psychopathology: a transdiagnostic model of risk and resilience. BMC Medicine , 18 (1). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Transdiagnostic processes confer risk for multiple types of psychopathology and explain the co-occurrence of different disorders. For this reason, transdiagnostic processes provide ideal targets for early intervention and treatment. Childhood trauma exposure is associated with elevated risk for virtually all commonly occurring forms of psychopathology. We articulate a transdiagnostic model of the developmental mechanisms that explain the strong links between childhood trauma and psychopathology as well as protective factors that promote resilience against multiple forms of psychopathology. We present a model of transdiagnostic mechanisms spanning three broad domains: social information processing, emotional processing, and accelerated biological aging. Changes in social information processing that prioritize threat-related information—such as heightened perceptual sensitivity to threat, misclassification of negative and neutral emotions as anger, and attention biases towards threat-related cues—have been consistently observed in children who have experienced trauma. Patterns of emotional processing common in children exposed to trauma include elevated emotional reactivity to threat-related stimuli, low emotional awareness, and difficulties with emotional learning and emotion regulation. More recently, a pattern of accelerated aging across multiple biological metrics, including pubertal development and cellular aging, has been found in trauma-exposed children. Although these changes in social information processing, emotional responding, and the pace of biological aging reflect developmental adaptations that may promote safety and provide other benefits for children raised in dangerous environments, they have been consistently associated with the emergence of multiple forms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology and explain the link between childhood trauma exposure and transdiagnostic psychopathology. Children with higher levels of social support, particularly from caregivers, are less likely to develop psychopathology following trauma exposure. Caregiver buffering of threat-related processing may be one mechanism explaining this protective effect. Childhood trauma exposure is a powerful transdiagnostic risk factor associated with elevated risk for multiple forms of psychopathology across development. Changes in threat-related social and emotional processing and accelerated biological aging serve as transdiagnostic mechanisms linking childhood trauma with psychopathology. These transdiagnostic mechanisms represent critical targets for early interventions aimed at preventing the emergence of psychopathology in children who have experienced trauma.
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Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Fillbrunn, M., Fukuda, M., Jackson, J. S., Kessler, R. C., Sadikova, E., et al. (2020). Barriers to Mental Health Service Use and Predictors of Treatment Drop Out: Racial/Ethnic Variation in a Population-Based Study. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research , 47, 606-616. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study examines racial/ethnic differences in perceived need for mental health treatment, barriers to treatment receipt, and reasons for dropout. Data are from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies, a pooled dataset from three U.S. nationally-representative adult samples. Among respondents with a 12-month psychiatric disorder who received no treatment (N = 1417), Asians and Latinos reported lower perceived need than Blacks and Whites, and Latinos reported the fewest attitudinal barriers. Among those with a 12-month disorder who dropped out of treatment, Asians and Latinos gave more reasons for dropping out. Significant interactions of race/ethnicity with other characteristics identified subpopulations with high unmet need.
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Nook, E. C., Stavish, C. M., Sasse, S. F., Lambert, H. K., Mair, P., McLaughlin, K. A., & Somerville, L. H. (2020). Charting the development of emotion comprehension and abstraction from childhood to adulthood using observer-rated and linguistic measures. Emotion , 20 (5), 773-792. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study examined two facets of emotion development: emotion word comprehension (knowing the meaning of emotion words such as “anger” or “excitement”) and emotion concept abstraction (representing emotions in terms of internal psychological states that generalize across situations). Using a novel emotion vocabulary assessment, we captured how a cross-sectional sample of participants aged 4-25 (N=196) defined 24 emotions. Smoothing spline regression models suggested that emotion comprehension followed an emergent shape: knowledge of emotion words increased across childhood and plateaued around age 11. Human coders rated the abstractness of participants’ responses, and these ratings also followed an emergent shape but plateaued significantly later than comprehension, around age 18. An automated linguistic analysis of abstractness supported coders’ perceptions of increased abstractness across age. Finally, coders assessed the definitional “strategies” participants used to describe emotions. Young children tended to describe emotions using concrete strategies such as providing example situations that evoked those emotions or by referring to physiological markers of emotional experiences. Whereas use of these concrete strategies decreased with age, the tendency to use more abstract strategies such as providing general definitions that delineated the causes and characteristics of emotions or by providing synonyms of emotion words increased with age. Overall, this work (i) provides a tool for assessing definitions of emotion terms, (ii) demonstrates that emotion concept abstraction increases across age, and (iii) suggests that adolescence is a period in which emotion words are comprehended but their level of abstraction continues to mature.
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Colich, N. L., Platt, J. M., Keyes, K. M., Sumner, J. A., Allen, N. B., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Earlier age at menarche as a transdiagnostic mechanism linking childhood trauma with multiple forms of psychopathology in adolescent girls. Psychological Medicine , 50 (7), 1090-1098. Publisher's VersionAbstract
{BackgroundAlthough early life adversity (ELA) increases risk for psychopathology, mechanisms linking ELA with the onset of psychopathology remain poorly understood. Conceptual models have argued that ELA accelerates development. It is unknown whether all forms of ELA are associated with accelerated development or whether early maturation is a potential mechanism linking ELA with psychopathology. We examine whether two distinct dimensions of ELA – threat and deprivation – have differential associations with pubertal timing in girls, and evaluate whether accelerated pubertal timing is a mechanism linking ELA with the onset of adolescent psychopathology.MethodsData were drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of 4937 adolescent girls. Multiple forms of ELA characterized by threat and deprivation were assessed along with age at menarche (AAM) and the onset of DSM-IV fear, distress, externalizing, and eating disorders.ResultsGreater exposure to threat was associated with earlier AAM (B = −0.1
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Heleniak, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Social-cognitive mechanisms in the cycle of violence: Cognitive and affective theory of mind, and externalizing psychopathology in children and adolescents. Development and Psychopathology , 32 (2), 735-750. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Children who are victims of interpersonal violence have a markedly elevated risk of engaging in aggressive behavior and perpetrating violence in adolescence and adulthood. Although alterations in social information processing have long been understood as a core mechanism underlying the link between violence exposure and externalizing behavior, scant research has examined more basic social cognition abilities that might underlie this association. To that end, this study examined the associations of interpersonal violence exposure with cognitive and affective theory of mind (ToM), core social-cognitive processes that underlie many aspects of social information processing. In addition, we evaluated whether difficulties with ToM were associated with externalizing psychopathology. Data were collected in a community-based sample of 246 children and adolescents aged 8–16 who had a high concentration of exposure to interpersonal violence. Violence exposure was associated with lower accuracy during cognitive and affective ToM, and the associations persisted after adjusting for co-occurring forms of adversity characterized by deprivation, including poverty and emotional neglect. Poor ToM performance, in turn, was associated with externalizing behaviors. These findings shed light on novel pathways that increase risk for aggression in children who have experienced violence.
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Rosen, M. L., Hagen, M. K. P., Lurie, L. A., Miles, Z. E., Sheridan, M. A., Meltzoff, A. N., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Cognitive Stimulation as a Mechanism Linking Socioeconomic Status With Executive Function: A Longitudinal Investigation. Child Development , 91 (4), 762-779. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Executive functions (EF), including working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility, vary as a function of socioeconomic status (SES), with children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds having poorer performance than their higher SES peers. Using observational methods, we investigated cognitive stimulation in the home as a mechanism linking SES with EF. In a sample of 101 children aged 60–75 months, cognitive stimulation fully mediated SES-related differences in EF. Critically, cognitive stimulation was positively associated with the development of inhibition and cognitive flexibility across an 18-month follow-up period. Furthermore, EF at T1 explained SES-related differences in academic achievement at T2. Early cognitive stimulation—a modifiable factor—may be a desirable target for interventions designed to ameliorate SES-related differences in cognitive development and academic achievement.
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