Project: Research project

Project Details


High reactivity, uncooperativeness, and lack of impulse control are
characteristics of behavior problems in early childhood. The inability to
control or regulate emotions, particularly negatiVe emotions, may be an
important antecedent of these disorders. The goal of the present study is
to identify these antecedents in a normal population by examining the
development of emotion regulation during the first two years of life.
Since the ability to modulate emotional arousal is likely the product of
both the infant and the infant's social context, this study will also
examine the physiological and social correlates of emotion regulation.

Specifically, a longitudinal study of infants and their mothers is
proposed. Infant emotional reactivity to a naturally occurring stressor
(inoculation) and less aversive laboratory procedures (frustration tasks)
and the infant's attempts to reduce or control his/her reactivity will be
observed. Maternal responses to her infant's distress/frustration will
also be assessed during these procedures, as well as during an early (two
weeks) feeding interaction and a free play at 6 and 12 months of age. To
assess early temperamental style over an extended period, mothers will
keep a 5-day cry diary at two weeks and two months. Physiological
correlates of reactivity and regulation will be obtained during all
laboratory procedures. Finally, at 24 months of age subjects will
participate in several compliance tasks and both parents will complete a
questionnaire about their child's behavior.
Effective start/end date9/30/948/31/95


  • National Institute of Mental Health

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