The long-term objective of the current grant application is a systematic study of children representing a wide range of competence and exposure to a variety of stressful family experiences. Our goal is to undue partially the current neglect of the stress-resistant child, who we have defined as one who maintains mastery and competence under adverse, stressful circumstances.
Specific aims of the projected program are, first, to integrate complex and diverse data sets documenting personal attributes and experiences collected on children and parents in two very different cohorts: a community-based, central city group of 200 children and their parents, and a smaller cohort of severely physically handicapped children who had been initially mainstreamed in regular classrooms at the time they were studied by the research team. A second objective of the projected research is to conduct a short-term and selective followup study of the children and their parents to evaluate the stability of the children's adaptation and the patterns of stress to which the participating families had been exposed during the intervening period of some three years since the last research contact. The health-related significance of this research program rests in part on the fact that research efforts and support have more typically focused on understanding maladaptation and incompetence. By contrast, the study of qualities of stress-resistance in children has remained an area of puzzling neglect. Knowledge of those factors--(individual, familial, environmental) that foster good adaptation under stress would help inform mental health specialists, not only about risk exposure, but about factors that serve a """"""""protective"""""""" function against potentially debilitating experiences and circumstances. Such knowledge would foreshadow process-oriented intervention strategies with at risk persons, and provide an empirical and rational base for primary prevention research with potentially deviant individuals. It may also point to ways of stabilizing supportive adaptive trends in persons exposed to stressful circumstances.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Shiner, Rebecca L; Masten, Ann S (2012) Childhood personality as a harbinger of competence and resilience in adulthood. Dev Psychopathol 24:507-28
Masten, Ann S; Desjardins, Christopher David; McCormick, Christopher M et al. (2010) The significance of childhood competence and problems for adult success in work: a developmental cascade analysis. Dev Psychopathol 22:679-94
Obradovic, Jelena; Burt, Keith B; Masten, Ann S (2010) Testing a dual cascade model linking competence and symptoms over 20 years from childhood to adulthood. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 39:90-102
Shaffer, Anne; Burt, Keith B; Obradovic, Jelena et al. (2009) Intergenerational continuity in parenting quality: the mediating role of social competence. Dev Psychol 45:1227-40
Burt, Keith B; Obradovic, Jelena; Long, Jeffrey D et al. (2008) The interplay of social competence and psychopathology over 20 years: testing transactional and cascade models. Child Dev 79:359-74
Masten, Ann S; Roisman, Glenn I; Long, Jeffrey D et al. (2005) Developmental cascades: linking academic achievement and externalizing and internalizing symptoms over 20 years. Dev Psychol 41:733-46
Roisman, Glenn I; Masten, Ann S; Coatsworth, J Douglas et al. (2004) Salient and emerging developmental tasks in the transition to adulthood. Child Dev 75:123-33
Masten, Ann S; Burt, Keith B; Roisman, Glenn I et al. (2004) Resources and resilience in the transition to adulthood: continuity and change. Dev Psychopathol 16:1071-94
Shiner, Rebecca L; Masten, Ann S; Roberts, Jennifer M (2003) Childhood personality foreshadows adult personality and life outcomes two decades later. J Pers 71:1145-70
Shiner, Rebecca L; Masten, Ann S; Tellegen, Auke (2002) A developmental perspective on personality in emerging adulthood: childhood antecedents and concurrent adaptation. J Pers Soc Psychol 83:1165-77

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