Understanding the etiology of internalizing disorders is a critical public health goal. Research has linked internalizing problems during childhood to parental rejection, over-control, and low support. Few studies, however, have explored the directionality of these associations or child characteristics that may moderate these associations. The proposed research will use longitudinal datasets in the United States to examine the extent to which parenting behaviors and offspring internalizing problems predict each other across time, and the degree to which offspring temperament moderates these predictive associations. In the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth - Child (N = 11,504) I will use autoregressive latent growth trajectory modeling to test the bidirectional associations between parental support and offspring internalizing problems over time, and will explore temperament dimensions (fearfulness and soothability) as moderators of parenting-internalizing associations. In the Child Development Project (N = 585), I will use cross-lag panel analyses to test bidirectional relations between parental psychological control and offspring internalizing problems, while exploring temperament dimensions (inadaptability and negative emotionality) as moderators of the predictive associations. The projects stemming from these aims will support my career goal of being an independent clinical scientist studying developmental psychopathology, and my long-term research goal of linking the etiology of internalizing disorders to prevention and intervention efforts. The proposed training plan will enable me to gain training in advanced quantitative analyses to rigorously study family processes and developmental change, to participate in practicum experiences working with parents and children and/or treating internalizing disorders, and to engage in ethics training for both researc and clinical practice.

Public Health Relevance

Research has demonstrated links between parenting behaviors (e.g., over-control and support) and precursors of offspring anxious and depressive disorders (i.e., internalizing problems). Few studies, however, have explicitly and simultaneously modeled the directionality and putative moderators of these associations. The proposed research will use two longitudinal data sets in the United States (N = 585 and N = 11,504) to examine (a) the degree to which parenting behaviors predict offspring internalizing problems and vice versa, and (b) the extent to which offspring temperament moderates these predictive associations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Esposito, Layla E
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Indiana University Bloomington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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