Attention control (AC) is thought to play an important role in the development of inhibitory control (IC) in children, yet there are few longitudinal studies of this association. This study used a prospective parent–child adoption design (N = 361 children) to examine whether maternal warmth at child age 27 months moderated the link between AC during infancy and IC during childhood. Tobit regression analyses indicated that low levels of infant AC at 9 months predicted low levels of IC at 6 years, controlling for birth parent IC, prenatal risk, infant distress to limitations, child sex, and openness of adoption. Adoptive mother warmth at 27 months moderated this association. In the context of higher levels of maternal warmth, the longitudinal association between low AC and low IC was attenuated. Thus, high levels of early maternal warmth may help diminish the effects of extant risk for IC deficits. Highlights: The study examined associations between infant attention control, maternal warmth, and children's inhibitory control. Using a parent–child adoption design, we found that maternal warmth moderated the association between infant attention control and school-age inhibitory control. Children with early risk for inhibitory control deficits may benefit from parental involvement in interventions that facilitate high maternal warmth during toddlerhood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology