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Psychophysiology. 2016 Jan;53(1):97-104. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12539.

The impact of maternal depression and overcrowded housing on associations between autonomic nervous system reactivity and externalizing behavior problems in vulnerable Latino children.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
2
Department of Human Development, Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington, USA.
3
Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
4
Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, California, USA.
5
School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Abstract

The study of autonomic nervous system responses and contextual factors has shed light on the development of children's negative outcomes, but the majority of these studies have not focused on minority populations living under adversity. To address these gaps, the current longitudinal study included a sample of poor, immigrant Latino families to examine whether associations between children's autonomic nervous system reactivity at 6 months and their externalizing behavior problems at 7 years of age were moderated by two risk factors associated with poverty: the interpersonal factor of chronic maternal depression and the environmental factor of chronic overcrowded housing. Multiple linear regression (Nā€‰=ā€‰99) revealed that children who exhibited less parasympathetic nervous system withdrawal in response to challenge during infancy had more externalizing problems during childhood only if they had mothers who experienced chronic depression. Children who exhibited greater sympathetic nervous system reactivity during infancy had the lowest levels of externalizing problems during childhood only if they had mothers who chronic depression. Chronic overcrowded housing did not moderate associations between physiological reactivity and level of externalizing problems. These findings extend our understanding of the interaction of physiology and context on child outcomes to the understudied population of impoverished Latino families.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic nervous system; Externalizing behavior problems; Latino; Maternal depression; Overcrowding

PMID:
26681621
PMCID:
PMC4685726
DOI:
10.1111/psyp.12539
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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