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Understanding Emotion Dynamics and Observed Cooperation and Conflict in the Sibling Relationship

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Sibling interactions are natural contexts for learning about the appropriate expression of emotions. The emotionally charged nature of sibling interactions creates a convenient context to explore emotional reactivity and regulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relations

Sibling interactions are natural contexts for learning about the appropriate expression of emotions. The emotionally charged nature of sibling interactions creates a convenient context to explore emotional reactivity and regulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relations among parent-reported sibling relationship quality, observed sibling prosocial and antisocial behaviors displayed when playing a competitive marble game, and children's emotions coded from videotape. The sample consisted of 58 twin children who are currently participating in the longitudinal Arizona Twin Project. Parents completed the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire online at 5 and 8 years. Additionally, a competitive marble game interaction between the siblings took place in the home at 8 years and was videotaped for objective coding of prosocial, antisocial, and control behavior. Facial expressions were also coded from videotape using Emotient FACET software across the marble game interaction. Three mean composites of emotion were created, including positive and negative emotional facial expressions. Results showed that parent reported warmth did not predict the occurrence of positive emotions during the sibling interaction. However, siblings with high conflict showed less fear during the interaction. Parent reports of warmth predicted the extent to which siblings differed on emotion expression, however conflict did not. Parent ratings of conflict and warmth did not predict the extent to which the sibling dyad was emotionally intense. Findings regarding genetic and environmental effects were in line with previous reports of genetic influence on prosocial behavior and negative emotion, and expressions of joy being influenced by the environment. This study investigated noteworthy aspects of the sibling relationship that appear to promote children's adaptive development.

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2018-05

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The Relation Between Child Chronic Pain and Internalizing Symptoms: An Analysis of Sibling Relationships as Moderators and Child Social Engagement as a Mediator

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Pediatric chronic pain is surprisingly common and impactful, prospectively predicting poorer mental and physical health outcomes. Internalizing symptoms represents one such outcome. It is the most common cluster of symptoms in children, it is related to poorer child functioning, and

Pediatric chronic pain is surprisingly common and impactful, prospectively predicting poorer mental and physical health outcomes. Internalizing symptoms represents one such outcome. It is the most common cluster of symptoms in children, it is related to poorer child functioning, and it has been linked to future functioning/psychopathology. The psychosocial mechanisms through which child pain may impact internalizing have yet to be fully elaborated, but withdrawal from social engagement with peers has been proposed as one possible mechanism. Additionally, sibling relationships may play a role in enhancing or diminishing a child’s social engagement while they are in pain. The current study aimed to examine whether child social engagement at age 8 mediates the relation between child chronic pain at age 8 and internalizing symptoms at age 9. Further, the study tested whether sibling warmth and sibling conflict act as moderators between child chronic pain and child social engagement. The physical and emotional health, quality of sibling relations, and extracurricular social engagement of 491 twin children from 247 families were assessed at age 8 and age 9 via surveys completed by the children’s primary caregivers. Findings showed that child pain at age 8 did not predict lower levels of social engagement, and social engagement did not predict child internalizing at age 9. Sibling warmth, but not conflict, significantly moderated the pain—social engagement relation. Together, these findings indicate that the relation between chronic pain and internalizing functions differently in children than in adults through a variety of cognitive, environmental, and social factors. More longitudinal research in this area will help establish changes in the relation between pain and internalizing from childhood into adulthood.

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2020-05

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Shared environment moderates the heritability of temperament in childhood

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The interplay of genes and environment on children's development is a complex dynamic process. As behavior geneticists begin to model protective as well as risk factors, and interactive as well as main effect influences, development is elucidated. It

The interplay of genes and environment on children's development is a complex dynamic process. As behavior geneticists begin to model protective as well as risk factors, and interactive as well as main effect influences, development is elucidated. It was hypothesized that positive parenting, a quality home environment, and high family cohesion would moderate the heritability of three components of temperament: Effortful Control, Negative Affectivity, and Extraversion/Surgency. Participants were drawn from the Wisconsin Twin Project and consisted of 1573 twins (51% boys), 88.5% Caucasian, M=7.93 years (SD=0.87). Higher order composites for the parenting and family environment moderators were formed from mother and father reports of Behavior Management Self-Assessment, Child Rearing Practices Report, Family Assessment Device, and Family Conflict Scale. Measures of the home environment (LEOS Living Environment Observation Scale and CHAOS Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale) were not composited due to the nature of the variables. Correlational analyses showed a majority of the temperament and environmental measures to be correlated (rs = -.49-.57). For Effortful Control, Negative Affectivity, and Extraversion/Surgency, estimates for the heritability and nonshared environment were 0.60 and 0.40, 0.80 and 0.20, and 0.59 and 0.41, respectively, with no significant main effects of the shared environment. Models incorporating environmental moderation of these estimates yielded parenting as a significant moderator for Negative Affectivity, LEOS for Effortful Control and Extraversion/Surgency, and CHAOS for Effortful Control and Extraversion/Surgency. Results suggest that the quality of the family environment may act as a permissive or determinative influence on the heritability and expression of temperament. Future analyses include the examination of interactive genetic influences. These findings underscore the importance of shared environment, and support the recent literature on the benefits of positive influences on children's development.

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2011

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Motherhood: The Experiences of Domestic Workers in Contemporary Latin American Cinema

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This paper explores the psychological experiences of domestic workers in three contemporary Latin American films: Roma (Mexico, 2018), Crímenes de familia (Argentina, 2020) and Que Horas Ela Volta? (Brazil, 2015). Specifically, the motherhood of these three protagonists is explored and

This paper explores the psychological experiences of domestic workers in three contemporary Latin American films: Roma (Mexico, 2018), Crímenes de familia (Argentina, 2020) and Que Horas Ela Volta? (Brazil, 2015). Specifically, the motherhood of these three protagonists is explored and analyzed using psychological research that pertains to motherhood, trauma, and the relationships between domestic workers and the families that employ them. This paper reveals that contemporary Latin American cinema portrays domestic workers as having negative experiences of motherhood as a direct result of their occupation and proposes for further protections, policy change, and psychological research to take place for domestic workers in Latin America and beyond.

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2021-05

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Genes moderate the association of trait diurnal cortisol and externalizing in boys

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The hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and the human genome are important components of the biological etiology of externalizing disorders. By studying the associations between specific genetic variants, diurnal cortisol, and externalizing symptoms we can begin to unpack this complex

The hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and the human genome are important components of the biological etiology of externalizing disorders. By studying the associations between specific genetic variants, diurnal cortisol, and externalizing symptoms we can begin to unpack this complex etiology. It was hypothesized that genetic variants from the corticotropine releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1), FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP5), catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), and dopamine transporter (DAT1) genes and diurnal cortisol intercepts and slopes would separately predict externalizing symptoms. It was also hypothesized that genetic variants would moderate the association between cortisol and externalizing. Participants were 800 twins (51% boys), 88.5% Caucasian, M=7.93 years (SD=0.87) participating in the Wisconsin Twin Project. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) was used to separate the variance associated with state and trait cortisol measured across three consecutive days and trait cortisol measures were used. There were no main effects of genes on externalizing symptoms. The evening cortisol intercept, the morning cortisol slope and the evening cortisol slope predicted externalizing, but only in boys, such that boys with higher cortisol and flatter slopes across the day also had more externalizing symptoms. The morning cortisol intercept and CRHR1 rs242924 interacted to predict externalizing in both boys and girls, with GG carriers significantly higher compared to TT carriers at one standard deviation below the mean of morning cortisol. For boys only there was a significant interaction between the DAT1 variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) and the afternoon slope and a significant slope for 9/9 carriers and 9/10 carriers such that when the slope was more steep, boys carrying a nine had fewer externalizing symptoms but when the slope was less steep, they had more. Results confirm a link between diurnal trait cortisol and externalizing in boys, as well as moderation of that association by genetic polymorphisms. This is the first study to empirically examine this association and should encourage further research on the biological etiology of externalizing disorder symptoms.

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2012

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Familial Risk and Social Support in Children’s ADHD Symptoms

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common developmental disorder characterized by symptoms of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity that interfere with development. Given the lasting academic and social deficits associated with ADHD symptoms, it is critical to study the risk factors of

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common developmental disorder characterized by symptoms of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity that interfere with development. Given the lasting academic and social deficits associated with ADHD symptoms, it is critical to study the risk factors of this disorder and possible factors that could protect against its development. Therefore, the current study investigated the potential role of social support from parents, siblings, teachers, and peers as promotive and protective factors against the development of ADHD symptoms for children at familial risk of developing ADHD symptoms. Participants included 903 twins (30.5% monozygotic twins, 35.9% same-sex dizygotic twins, 31.7% opposite-sex dizygotic twins) from the longitudinal Arizona Twin Project. Children (51.6% female) were assessed for social support and ADHD symptoms at age 8 (M = 8.42, SD = 0.68) and for ADHD symptoms at age 9 (M = 9.71, SD = 0.93). Children’s familial risk for developing ADHD symptoms was assessed as a function of their cotwin’s symptom status at age 8 and the pair’s zygosity. Mixed model regression analyses indicated that familial risk was a robust predictor of ADHD symptoms. Further, peer acceptance was found to operate as a promotive factor against the development of ADHD symptoms, with some evidence for positive parenting as a promotive factor, as well. None of the forms of social support were found to be protective factors for children at familial risk of developing ADHD symptoms. Bivariate twin analyses revealed that peer acceptance and ADHD were related for both genetic and environmental reasons, suggesting that children’s heritable behaviors influence their peer acceptance. Future directions may include examining additional factors as possible moderators of familial risk of developing ADHD symptoms.

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2020-12

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Understanding behavior problems and competencies across childhood through the contributions of parental warmth and rejection and dopamine, vasopressin, and neuropeptide-Y genes

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Externalizing behaviors are pervasive, widespread, and disruptive across a multitude of settings and developmental contexts. While the conventional diathesis-stress model typically measures the disordered end of the spectrum, studies that span the range of behavior, from externalizing to competence behaviors,

Externalizing behaviors are pervasive, widespread, and disruptive across a multitude of settings and developmental contexts. While the conventional diathesis-stress model typically measures the disordered end of the spectrum, studies that span the range of behavior, from externalizing to competence behaviors, are necessary to see the full picture. To that end, this study examined the additive and nonadditive relations of a dimension of parenting (ranging from warm to rejecting), and variants in dopamine, vasopressin, and neuropeptide-y receptor genes on externalizing/competence in a large sample of predominantly Caucasian twin children in toddlerhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence. Variants within each gene were hypothesized to increase biological susceptibility to both negative and positive environments. Consistent with prediction, warmth related to lower externalizing/higher competence at all ages. Earlier levels of externalizing/competence washed out the effect of parental warmth on future externalizing/competence with the exception of father warmth in toddlerhood marginally predicting change in externalizing/competence from toddlerhood to middle childhood. Warmth was a significant moderator of the heritability of behavior in middle childhood and early adolescence such that behavior was less heritable (mother report) and more heritable (father report) in low warmth environments. Interactions with warmth and the dopamine and vasopressin genes in middle childhood and early adolescence emphasize the moderational role gene variants play in relations between the rearing environment and child behavior. For dopamine, the long variant related to increased sensitivity to parent warmth such that the children displayed more externalizing behaviors when exposed to rejection but they also displayed more competence behaviors when exposed to high warmth. Vasopressin moderation was only present under conditions of parental warmth, not rejection. Interactions with neuropeptide-y and warmth were not significant. The picture that emerges is one of gene-environment interplay, wherein the influence of both parenting and child genotype each depend on the level of the other. As genetic research moves forward, gene variants previously implicated as conferring risk for disorder should be reexamined in conjunction with salient aspects of the environment on the full range of the behavioral outcome of interest.

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2011

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Genetic influences on the dynamics of pain and affect in fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and a variety of other comorbid physiological and psychological characteristics, including a deficit of positive affect. Recently, the focus of research on the pathophysiology of FM has considered

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and a variety of other comorbid physiological and psychological characteristics, including a deficit of positive affect. Recently, the focus of research on the pathophysiology of FM has considered the role of a number of genomic variants. In the current manuscript, case-control analyses did not support the hypothesis that FM patients would differ from other chronic pain groups in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) genotype. However, evidence is provided in support of the hypothesis that functional single nucleotide polymorphisms on the COMT and OPRM1 genes would be associated with risk and resilience, respectively, in a dual processing model of pain-related positive affective regulation in FM. Forty-six female patients with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of FM completed an electronic diary that included once-daily assessments of positive affect and soft tissue pain. Multilevel modeling yielded a significant gene X environment interaction, such that individuals with met/met genotype on COMT experienced a greater decline in positive affect as daily pain increased than did either val/met or val/val individuals. A gene X environment interaction for OPRM1 also emerged, indicating that individuals with at least one asp allele were more resilient to elevations in daily pain than those homozygous for the asn allele. In sum, the findings offer researchers ample reason to further investigate the contribution of the catecholamine and opioid systems, and their associated genomic variants, to the still poorly understood experience of FM.

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2011

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The factor structure of the externalizing spectrum in adolescence and the role of GABRA2

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The present study tested the factor structure of the externalizing disorders (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (SE), and substance experimentation (SE) ) in adolescence. In addition, this study tested the influence of the GABRA2 gene on the factors

The present study tested the factor structure of the externalizing disorders (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (SE), and substance experimentation (SE) ) in adolescence. In addition, this study tested the influence of the GABRA2 gene on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to test the factor structure of the externalizing spectrum. Specifically, three competing alternate confirmatory factor analytic models were tested: a one-factor model where all disorders loaded onto a single externalizing factor, a two-factor model where CD and SE loaded onto one factor and ADHD loaded onto another, and a three-factor model, where all three disorders loaded onto separate factors. Structural equation modeling was used to test the effect of a GABRA2 SNP, rs279858, on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Analyses revealed that a three-factor model of externalizing disorders with correlated factors fit the data best. Additionally, GABRA2 had a significant effect on the SE factor in adolescence, but not on the CD or ADHD factors. These findings demonstrate that the externalizing disorders in adolescence share commonalities but also have separate sources of systematic variance. Furthermore, biological mechanisms may act as a unique etiological factor in the development of adolescent substance experimentation.

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2012

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Effects of Specific Visual Stimulation on Human Stress Indicators

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The purpose of our study was to evaluate whether viewing videos of dogs had an effect on the stress response of college students. While there is strong support in the literature for demonstrating the beneficial effect of human-canine interactions on

The purpose of our study was to evaluate whether viewing videos of dogs had an effect on the stress response of college students. While there is strong support in the literature for demonstrating the beneficial effect of human-canine interactions on human stress indicators, there is very little to no literature on whether or not this phenomenon translates across a digital medium. We hypothesized that when exposed to a video of golden retriever puppies after a stress-inducing task, an individual would experience an increase in blood pressure recovery rate and a decline in perceived stress. In order to study this, we put together several surveys to test our participants' perceived stress, and we measured blood pressure several times in order to obtain a physiological measure of stress. Additionally, in order to produce a guaranteed stress response in our participants, we gave them 2 minutes to prepare a 4 minute video-recorded speech that they were not made aware of prior to entering the testing facility. After the speech task, the experimental group quietly viewed a pleasant 4 minute video containing imagery of dogs, while the control group sat silently for the same duration of time. During this time, the control group was asked to mentally review their performance and to focus intently on the feelings they experienced while giving their speech. Through these measures we found a significant recovery rate in systolic blood pressure and a trending difference between groups for the decline in negative affect. The data demonstrated that the experimental group had blood pressure levels that were significantly closer to their baseline levels when compared to the control group, whose blood pressure did not decline at the same rate. Additionally, the experimental group experienced a higher level of change in negative affect when asked to self-report their level of stress before the speech task and after the conditional recovery period. Interestingly, these findings can be applied to recent literature suggesting that systolic blood pressure is the most important factor of cardiac health to consider when assessing an individual for risk of heart disease or cardiac arrest. While the sample size of this study was small, the significant reduction in systolic blood pressure within the experimental group could indicate the possible efficacy of utilizing digital media containing imagery of canines as a form of therapy for systolically-hypertensive individuals as a means of managing their condition.

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2017-05