Physically abused and neglected children are at risk for a variety of social and behavioral problems but the process by which maltreatment leads to individual differences in behavioral adjustment is not well understood. This continuation grant further examines a) children's self-conscious evaluative emotions and attributions as a function of the type and severity of maltreatment and b) age and sex differences in these psychological processes as they enter adolescence (ages 9-13). Our overall goal is to test a conceptual model of maltreatment, where entry into adolescence interacts with early maltreatment history to exacerbate children's emotional and behavioral problems. Preliminary evidence suggests that children's self-conscious evaluative emotions account for individual differences in children's adjustment. A sample of 139 children, including 69 maltreated and 70 controls, have been identified and followed between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Because differences in self-conscious evaluative emotions and behavioral problems are being observed as a function of maltreatment, and because self-conscious emotions partially mediate the effect of maltreatment in behavior problems from 4 to 8 years, the continuation grant will follow all children through age 13 in order to fully test our model. Maltreatment, including measures of continued negative parental interactions and use of physical punishment will be assessed. Children's emotional behavior and attributions on experimenter-controlled tasks will be obtained. In addition, mothers and children will be observed in other situations as they interact around the child's completing difficult tasks. The quality of maternal behavior will be quantified and combined with other measures of maltreatment. The project is relevant to public health because it will provide information important in identifying and assessing those maltreated children at greatest risk and will assist in targeting intervention efforts toward changing children's poor emotion-attribution styles and those parenting patterns that promote maladaptive behavior.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section (MESH)
Program Officer
Sarampote, Christopher S
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University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Bennett, David S; Lewis, Michael (2013) Individual differences in the cortisol responses of neglected and comparison children. Child Maltreat 18:8-16
Gold, Jason; Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Lewis, Michael (2011) The relation between abuse and violent delinquency: the conversion of shame to blame in juvenile offenders. Child Abuse Negl 35:459-67
Lewis, Michael; Takai-Kawakami, Kiyoko; Kawakami, Kiyobumi et al. (2010) Cultural Differences in Emotional Responses to Success and Failure. Int J Behav Dev 34:53-61
Bennett, David S; Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Lewis, Michael (2010) Neglected children, shame-proneness, and depressive symptoms. Child Maltreat 15:305-14
Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Carmody, Dennis P; Lewis, Michael (2010) How neglect and punitiveness influence emotion knowledge. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 41:285-98
Sullivan, Margaret W; Bennett, David S; Carpenter, Kim et al. (2008) Emotion knowledge in young neglected children. Child Maltreat 13:301-6
Carmody, Dennis P; Moreno, Rosanne; Mars, Audrey E et al. (2007) Brief report: brain activation to social words in a sedated child with autism. J Autism Dev Disord 37:1381-5
Bennett, David S; Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Lewis, Michael (2006) Relations of parental report and observation of parenting to maltreatment history. Child Maltreat 11:63-75
Carmody, Dennis P; Lewis, Michael (2006) Brain activation when hearing one's own and others' names. Brain Res 1116:153-8
Bennett, David S; Sullivan, Margaret Wolan; Lewis, Michael (2005) Young children's adjustment as a function of maltreatment, shame, and anger. Child Maltreat 10:311-23