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Behav Sci (Basel). 2016 Dec 29;7(1). pii: E2. doi: 10.3390/bs7010002.

Poverty-Related Adversity and Emotion Regulation Predict Internalizing Behavior Problems among Low-Income Children Ages 8-11.

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The Institute of Human Development and Social Change, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.
The Institute of Human Development and Social Change, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.
Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The current study examines the additive and joint roles of chronic poverty-related adversity and three candidate neurocognitive processes of emotion regulation (ER)-including: (i) attention bias to threat (ABT); (ii) accuracy of facial emotion appraisal (FEA); and (iii) negative affect (NA)-for low-income, ethnic minority children's internalizing problems (N = 338). Children were enrolled in the current study from publicly funded preschools, with poverty-related adversity assessed at multiple time points from early to middle childhood. Field-based administration of neurocognitively-informed assessments of ABT, FEA and NA as well as parental report of internalizing symptoms were collected when children were ages 8-11, 6 years after baseline. Results suggest that chronic exposure to poverty-related adversity from early to middle childhood predicted higher levels of internalizing symptomatology when children are ages 8-11, even after controlling for initial poverty status and early internalizing symptoms in preschool. Moreover, each of the 3 hypothesized components of ER played an independent and statistically significant role in predicting children's parent-reported internalizing symptoms at the 6-year follow-up, even after controlling for early and chronic poverty-related adversity.


attention bias; emotion regulation; poverty

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