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03-09-2020 | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2020

Proximal Interpersonal Processes in Early Childhood, Socioemotional Capacities in Middle Childhood, and Behavioral and Social Adaptation in Early Adolescence: A Process Model toward Greater Specificity

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 11/2020
Hongjian Cao, Yue Liang, Nan Zhou
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-020-00696-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Early proximal interpersonal processes in central microsystems have been widely linked to child subsequent adaptation. What remains sparse is research spanning multiple developmental stages and examining unique, relative implications of distinct early proximal interpersonal processes for child later adjustment in various domains and the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral mechanisms underlying such associations. Using NICHD SECCYD data, a process model was tested in which negativities and positivities in three early proximal interpersonal processes (i.e., mother–child, child care provider–child, and child care peer interactions at 6–36 months) were simultaneously linked to child internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and social relationship quality in early adolescence (6th grade) via child hostile attribution bias, emotion reactivity, and social skills in middle childhood (3rd grade). Social skills mediated the associations between positivities/negativities in early mother–child and peer interactions and later behavioral and social adaptation. Emotion reactivity was identified as a process via which negativities in early peer interactions predicted later behavioral problems. Maternal negativities were positively associated with hostile attribution biases, but such biases did not relate to later adaptation. We also identified a negative direct link between maternal positivities and later externalizing problems and a positive direct link between maternal positivities and later social relationship quality. No effects emerged for child care providers–child interactions. Improving early mother–child and peer interactions may promote adaptation in early adolescence. For children with poor early mother–child and peer interactions, training socioemotional capacities may be a way to diminish consequences of early negative interpersonal processes.

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