Guided by emotional security theory, we explored how child and context-related factors were associated with heterogeneity in young foster children's organized patterns of fear response to distress. Results from group-based trajectory modeling used to analyze observational data from a fear-eliciting task showed that children from our sample (mean age = 62 months, SD = 9) were classified into 3 specific fear regulation patterns differentiated by the emotional response parameters of onset intensity, peak intensity, and rise time. A descriptive examination of child's emotion knowledge, aggressive behaviors, and attention problems, as well as length of time in current foster home, placement transitions, and caregiver responsiveness and modeling showed class-specific differences in means. Moreover, the likelihood of class membership was significantly predicted by children's emotion knowledge, aggressive behaviors, and foster mothers’ responsiveness and modeling of appropriate boundaries. Results show promising support for the implementation of individualized, child-directed interventions targeting specific patterns of response parameters of emotion regulation for young foster children. Further, parenting intervention services need to promote the emotion socialization skills of foster parents that are tailored toward each specific trajectory pattern of emotion arousal and modulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science