"Multiple Risk" and Children’s Adjustment
There is extensive research that shows that children who experience multiple adverse conditions or stressful experiences (called “multiple risk”) are at increased risk for developing adjustment problems like academic and behavior problems and depression. There is also evidence that not all children who experience multiple risk develop problems; some children appear to do pretty well. We are interested in finding things that children and parents do to help children adapt well in their life situations, whether they are stress-free or stress-full.
In one study, we show that children who have good “self-regulation skills” show lower adjustment problems and higher positive adjustment in multiple risk situations than children who have poor self-regulation skills. Self-regulation in children includes things like the ability to focus attention, follow directions, delay doing desirable activities while completing less desirable ones, and approach potentially dangerous situations cautiously. These skill appear to lessen the impact of multiple risk on children. Teaching children strategies for self-regulation presents a possible area that we might be able to promote positive adjustment in children.
- Anna Long
Do positive things parents do matter?
The short answer is yes! We have found that interactions between mothers and children are related to childrenâ¤™s positive adjustment. One of the goals of the CFN project is to explore what parents can do to help their children develop into healthy individuals. We are especially interested in what parents can do when they and their children are faced with multiple risk factors in their lives. I studied the interactions of mothers and children and looked for the positive things parents do, such as being interested and involved, listening, and praising. We found that these positive parent behaviors were related to children's self esteem and social skills, and may protect children from the effects of multiple risk. When mothers demonstrate these behaviors, the presence of multiple risk factors appears to have less negative effects on children. These findings suggest that it is important to study how positive influences in children's lives, like positive parenting, can lead to positive outcomes for children.
How do children's physiological states relate to their behavior?
We investigated patterns of children's heart rate and skin conductance during a delay of gratification task (children were waiting to receive the prize of their choice). Then we looked at how that physiological information relates to ratings of how difficult it was for them to wait, and questionnaire ratings of temperament and adjustment problems. The patterns of physiological responses were related to children's difficulty waiting, as well as children's attention regulation, inhibitory control, and adjustment problems.
Did parent behaviors influence children's responses to the events of 9/11?
This is my dissertation topic, so this research is still in progress. I will be examining the role that parent-child relationships before 9/11 and parent behaviors right after 9/11 played in predicting children's responses to the events.
- Anika Trancik
- What does surprise or challenge do to your heart rate and skin conductance?
This is a question that Anika Trancik is trying to answer using the data
collected in year two of the Children Families and Neighborhoods'
Project. For those children who took part in the project you will
remember that we put small sensors and a glove on your hand while you were
doing some activities. Well those sensors measure your heart rate and
What is heart rate and skin conductance?
Heart rate is a measure of how fast your heart is beating. Have you
noticed how your heart beats faster when something surprises you? Skin
conductance is a way to measure how activated your hands are. This can
tell us if you are relaxed or ready to take action. So we want to learn
if everyone shows the same patterns in heart rate and skin conductance
reaction when you do something that might be surprising or challenging.
- Nicole Bush
- What about neighborhoods?
Research information coming soon.