Corriveau, K., G. Min*, J. Chin*, and S.N. Doan. “Do as I do, not as I say: Actions speak louder than words in preschoolers learning from others.” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 143, 2016, 179-187.
Abstract: To date, no research has examined children’s imitative abilities in the context of learning self-regulatory strategies from adults—especially when there is a conflict between communicative intent and later behavior. A sample of 84 4- and 5-year-olds performed a delay-of-gratification task after observing an adult perform the same task. Across four between-participants conditions, the model either did or did not state her intention to complete the task (positive vs. negative communication), modeled self-regulatory strategies, and then either did or did not complete the task successfully (positive vs. negative outcome). Children in the positive outcome conditions were more likely to imitate the novel strategies and successfully wait in both familiar and unfamiliar self-regulation tasks irrespective of the model’s communicated intent. We discuss implications for practice and interventions.
Curtis, D., T. Fuller-Rowell, S.N. Doan, A. Zgierska, and C. Ryff. “Racial and socioeconomic disparities in body mass index among college students: Understanding the role of early life adversity.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 2016, 866-875.
Abstract: The role of early life adversity (ELA) in the development of health disparities has not received adequate attention. The current study examined differential exposure and differential vulnerability to ELA as explanations for socioeconomic and racial disparities in body mass index (BMI). Data were derived from a sample of 150 college students (Mage = 18.8, SD = 1.0; 45 % African American; 55 % European American) who reported on parents’ education and income as well as on exposure to 21 early adverse experiences. Body measurements were directly assessed to determine BMI. In adjusted models, African American students had higher BMI than European Americans. Similarly, background socioeconomic status was inversely associated with BMI. Significant mediation of group disparities through the pathway of ELA was detected, attenuating disparities by approximately 40 %. Furthermore, ELA was more strongly associated with BMI for African Americans than for European Americans. Efforts to achieve health equity may need to more fully consider early adversity.
Doan, S.N., N. Dich*, and G.W. Evans. “Stress of stoicism: High persistence in the context of low emotionality leads to higher allostatic load.” Applied Developmental Science, 20, 2016, 310-317.
Abstract: The present longitudinal study examined the combined effects of task persistence and negative emotionality (NE) on allostatic load (AL), a physiological indicator of chronic stress. In line with John Henryism theory, we hypothesized that high persistence combined with low NE may be indicative of a high-effort coping style, leading to high arousal of the nervous system and, as a consequence, increased AL. Mothers reported on children’s NE (N = 158, 72 females) at age 9. Persistence was measured at age 9 using a behavioral measure assessing persistence on an impossible task. AL was measured at ages 9 and 17. The AL measure captured hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, sympathetic adrenal medullary system, cardiovascular, and metabolic activity. Consistent with previous research, persistence protected against high AL in the context of high NE. However, combined with low NE, high behavioral persistence was associated with higher physiological stress. Our results have implications for both clinical and intervention contexts.
Hofmann, S., S.N. Doan, M. Sprung, A. Wilson, C. Ebesutani, et al. “Training children’s theory of mind: A meta-analysis of controlled studies.” Cognition, 150, 2016, 200-212.
Abstract: Theory-of-mind (ToM) refers to knowledge and awareness of mental states in oneself and others. Various training programs have been developed to improve ToM in children. In the present study, we conducted a quantitative review of ToM training programs that have been tested in controlled studies. A literature search was conducted using PubMed, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Library, and manual searches.
We identified 32 papers with 45 studies or experiments that included 1529 children with an average age of 63 months (SD = 28.7). ToM training procedures were more effective than control procedures and their aggregate effect size was moderately strong (Hedges’ g = 0.75, CI = 0.60–0.89, p < .001). Moderator analyses revealed that although ToM training programs were generally effective, ToM skill-related outcomes increased with length of training sessions and were significantly higher in active control studies. ToM training procedures can effectively enhance ToM in children.
Liu, C.H., R. Giallo, S.N. Doan, L.J. Seidman, and E. Tronick. “Racial and ethnic differences in prenatal life stress and postpartum depression symptoms.” Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30, 2016, 7-12.
Abstract: This study determined the risk of core depression symptoms based on life stress domains during pregnancy and whether stressors varied by race/ethnicity. The sample consisted of 2,344 White, African American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Massachusetts women who recently gave birth. African Americans and Hispanics who endorsed high relational and high financial stress were more likely to report high depressed mood and loss of interest; high physical stress was associated with high depressed mood among API. Screening based on life stress domains may be informative in determining risk for core depression symptoms during the postpartum period especially for minority groups.
Otto, Michael W., Abraham Eastman, Stephen Lo, Bridget A. Hearon, Warren K. Bickel, Michael Zvolensky, Jasper A.J. Smits, and Stacey N. Doan. "Anxiety sensitivity and working memory capacity: Risk factors and targets for health behavior promotion." Clinical Psychology Review 49, 2016, 67-78.
Abstract: Understanding the nature and influence of specific risk profiles is increasingly important for health behavior promotion. The purpose of this article is to document the value of two factors—anxiety sensitivity (AS) and working memory capacity (WMC)—for enhancing risk for the initiation and/or maintenance of a range of negative health behaviors. AS is a distress-related risk factor that potentiates avoidance/coping motivations for negative health behaviors. Stress provides the conditions for negative somatic and affective states, and AS amplifies the aversiveness of these experiences and correspondingly hinders adaptive functioning. In contrast, low WMC is hypothesized to exert its effect by decreasing the capacity to filter out current temptations, attenuating a focus on longer-term goals and impairing the application of relevant coping skills at times of stress. In this review, we provide conceptual models for the separate roles of high AS and low WMC in negative health behaviors, review the influence of these factors on specific health behavior exemplars (eating behaviors/obesity, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, and sleep promotion), provide preliminary evidence for their value as independent treatment targets for health-behavior promotion, and encourage specific research directions in relation to these variables.
External grant: NIH: National Institute of Drug Abuse. “Rescuing affective and cognitive processes to influence smoking prevention.” 2016-2018. Role: Co-Principal Investigator Total costs: $458,928.
The current proposal provides innovation interventions capitalizing on improving working memory, and emotion regulation abilities in low income minority youth, with the goal of improving health behaviors.