Children's academic competence in contexts of risk: Longitudinal relations with sleep and physical health in adolescence PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT In the United States, ~1 in 5 children grows up in poverty. Although poverty and its associated risks predict a range of negative outcomes, many children evidence resilience (i.e., competent adaptation despite adversity). Resilience research has led to the development and implementation of intervention programs to promote positive development among adversity-exposed youth. Unfortunately, recent data suggest that children who evidence competent adaptation in contexts of adversity may experience later physical health problems, as indicated by biological markers of chronic physiological stress (i.e., allostatic load) and early cellular aging. That said, extant studies documenting potential ?costs of coping? have focused primarily on African American samples, with little consideration of moderating or mediating mechanisms. The proposed study will address these limitations by evaluating relations among children?s academic competence and physical health problems as a function of poverty-related risk exposure in a large and diverse community sample that has been followed from the preschool period into adolescence. Further, we will evaluate supportive parenting and ethnic identity as potential protective factors that may mitigate these health costs, and adolescents? sleep dysregulation as a putative mediator of the negative health effects associated with resilience. This research will capitalize on the added value of seven completed waves of multilevel, multimethod, multi- informant assessments of competence, adversity, and adaptation in a diverse sample of 250 child-caregiver dyads (50% female; 46% Latinx; 37.6% poverty) at ages 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 with outstanding retention (95.6% have returned for follow-ups). Extending to include a new assessment of sleep and health at age 14, this study will provide an unprecedented opportunity to 1) evaluate relations among academic competence, poverty-related risk exposure, and adolescent physical health in diverse ethnic groups, particularly Latinx youth, 2) elucidate putative protective factors that reduce the health costs of academic resilience, and 3) test sleep dysregulation as a mediating mechanism underlying the pathway from resilience to health problems. Spanning a decade of development from ages 4-14, this study will address NICHD?s high priority areas to understand contextual factors that impact adaptive behavior, and the psychosocial adjustment of individuals in high-risk contexts. Moreover, we focus on adolescence as a period of major developmental reorganization that is characterized by increased vulnerability to dysregulated sleep and health problems, as well as untapped opportunity for intervention and amelioration. Expected findings will document the scope and generalizability of resilience costs, while illuminating pathways by which interventions may target modifiable protective and mediating mechanisms to reduce these costs and promote positive development for all youth.

Public Health Relevance

Prior research suggests that there may be physical health costs associated with children?s competent adaptation in contexts of adversity (i.e., resilience). This proposal will evaluate the generalizability of these processes in diverse ethnic groups, identify specific protective factors that may mitigate resilience costs, and test sleep dysregulation as a mediator of predicted relations between childhood resilience and adolescent health problems. Expected findings will advance psychological science and practice by clarifying processes underlying resilience costs, and informing interventions to promote positive development among youth at risk.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group (CHHD)
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Lee, Karen
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University of California Riverside
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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