LECTURE 5: Socio-emotional Development/Self-regulation LECTURE NOTES AND SUPPLEMENTARY READING NOTES

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Jason Ramsay

LECTURE 5: Socio-emotional Development: Self-Regulation June 11, 2012 -self-regulation within socioeconomic contexts: -paper by Cybele Ravers asks three crucial questions: 1) Can we use the same measures that we used with average kids on groups of kids with different SES and demographic characteristics? 2) What evidence is there that early environments may support or compromise childrens development of self-regulation? 3) Can studying underprivileged kids tell us something new about development in normal contexts? -understanding the roles of income, risk and culture: -infants and young children in poverty are exposed to multiple ecological stressors: -residential instability -higher levels of neighbourhood and family violence -greater psychological distress among adult caregivers -importance of measurement -Raver argues that the literature on the normative development of self-regulation can be viewed from the perspectives of: 1) Measurement equivalence 2) Model equivalence -measurement equivalence establishes whether a given set of assessments tap a latent construct such as emotion self-regulation similarly across racially, ethnically or socioeconomically diverse groups so that meaningful inferences can be drawn from the data. -a good example of a controversy in measurement equivalence is the measurement of IQ -in the 70s and to this day, many researchers suggest that traditional IQ measures are biased against anyone who is not: Western, white, middle class, used to taking tests -one author went so far as to suggest that because African children did poorly on Western IQ tests, scoring in the mid-70s on average, they were genetically inferior to middle class anglo kids -if African children were to devise their own, Afro-centric IQ test to see how this western author would fare if he did poorly, would that mean he was genetically inferior to Africans? -the Africa-centric IQ test: -be able to work for a living at age 7 -feed your family on a salary of $5 a month -fend for yourself in the wilderness -avoid being sold into slavery or sex trade -know how to get water from a dry well -protect your younger siblings from predation -go to school when you can or it is available -try not to let the early death of your parents from HIV get in the way of getting an education -model equivalence: -refers to whether observed outcomes are similar or different across a set of predictors and outcomes are similar or different across two or more groups -in the old days, models of cognitive development, for example, were assumed to be invariant across groups one model for all groups -recently, this has been changed through the explicit testing for model equivalence across groups -it is more likely for example, that studies today will include contextual variables (SES, demographic variables, ethnicity) as important mediating variables -this means that context is not controlled for in the same way that it once was -deprivation and child behaviour problems: -it has been suspected that children who grew up poor were at greater risk for psychological problems -adults who are low SES: -greater proportion report suffering from depression and anxiety disorders -compared to wealthier people, low SES people have a greater BURDEN of disease -this means that depression hits them much harder and is more incapacitation than in people who have a higher SES -so what about the kids? -children and poverty is a huge issue world wide -one can find accurate depictions of child poverty in the work of Charles Dickens, such as Oliver Twist -child poverty is really adult poverty -research is now looking at how poverty can affect the mental health of children -the Dutch child study: -the researchers wanted to find out what the rate of psychosocial problems was for impoverished children -over 4000 children participated in the study -they used a general comprehensive screening tool called the CHILD BEHAVIOUR CHECKLIST or CBCL -the CBCL looks at two kinds of problems: internalizing and externalizing -results: -the most deprived areas had the highest prevalence of problems in mental health -higher for behavioural problems -lower for emotional problems -there were differences between the CHP assessment and the CBCL parental-report -parental characteristics were a small part of the explanation -reasons for findings: 1) low SES people tend to live in low income areas 2) the environment was one of the critical factorsnot just SES 3) lack of resources available to parents and children in the neighbourhood -the stress response: -it is important to understand the stress response -this allows us to conceptualize how the environment affects our biological system -there is an acute stress response and a chronic stress response -our stress threshold gets set very early in life -environment stress can affect how our threshold is set, impacting our long term outcomes -the HPA axis: -the HPA axis is the centre of the stress response Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal -Brain-body -the HPA Axis can be affected early in development -its threshold for response can be set while you are very young -a disordered HPA axis can lead to systemic malfunctions, leading to disease-effects of chronic stress: -chronic stress causes dysregulation of the HPA axis -chronic release of stress hormones damages the brain and the body (organs and blood) -chronic stress puts you at risk for poorer health outcomes -for example, there is a relationship between depression and heart disease -high stress neighbourhoods put kids at risk early on and later -perceived status and development of self-regulation -Gianaros et al. study was first to look at perceived status and brain/emot
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