Curtis, David S., Thomas E. Fuller-Rowell, J. Benjamin Hinnant, Alexander K. Kaeppler, and Stacey N. Doan. “Resting High-Frequency Heart Rate Variability Moderates the
Association between Early-Life Adversity and Body Adiposity.” Journal of Health Psychology, vol. 25, issue 7, 2020, pp. 953-963.
Abstract: This study investigates resting high-frequency heart rate variability as a moderator of the association between early-life adversity and two measures of body adiposity. Data were collected from 149 young adults
attending a large university in the Midwestern United States (Mage = 18.8 years; 45% black; 55% white; 56% female). Self-reported early-life adversity was associated with greater waist-to-height ratio and body mass
index. The strength of these associations was moderated by high-frequency heart rate variability, such that the link was stronger for individuals with lower heart rate variability. Resting high-frequency heart rate variability thus has
potential health significance as a biomarker of stress vulnerability.
Dich, Nadya, Naja Hulvej Rod, and Stacey N. Doan. “Both High and Low Levels of negative emotions, Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety are Associated with Higher Blood
Pressure. Evidence from Whitehall II Cohort Study.” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 27, 2020, pp. 170-178.
Abstract: Background Previous studies of negative emotions and blood pressure (BP) produced mixed findings. Based on the functionalist and evolutionary perspective on emotions, we hypothesized that the association between
negative emotions and BP is U-shaped, i.e., that both very high levels of negative emotions and the absence thereof are related to high BP. Methods: Data from 7479 British civil servants who participated in Phases 1-11 (years 1985-2013) of
the Whitehall II cohort study was used. Negative emotions were operationalized as negative affect and depressive and anxiety symptoms. Negative affect was measured at Phases 1 and 2. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed at each
phase. BP was measured at every other phase. For each negative emotion measure, an average across all phases was computed and used as a predictor of PB levels throughout the follow-up period using growth curve models. Results: Very high
values of anxiety and depressive symptoms, but not negative affect, were associated with higher levels of systolic BP. However, low to moderate levels of all negative emotions were associated with lower blood pressure than the absence of
negative emotions. Conclusions: The article offers a theoretical explanation for a previously observed inverse association between negative emotions and blood pressure and underscores that moderate levels of negative emotions that naturally
occur in everyday life are not associated with risks of heightened blood pressure.
Dich, Nadya, Maarten Pieter Rozing, Mike Kivimäki, and Stacey N. Doan. “Life Events, Emotions, and Immune Function: Evidence from Whitehall II Cohort Study.”
Behavioral Medicine, 2020, vol. 46, issue 2, 2020, pp. 153-160.
Abstract: Stressful life events have been shown to increase vulnerability to infections. However, the effects may be dependent on specific emotional responses associated with these events. In general, negative emotions are
thought to exacerbate and positive emotions to protect from the adverse effects of stressors on health. In this study, we adopted an evolutionary and functionalist perspective on emotions and hypothesized that both positive and negative
emotions in response to stressful events are protective, whereas absence of emotional reactions exacerbates vulnerability to infections. We assessed immune function using lymphocytes to white blood cells ratio as a proxy for current viral
infection in 3,008 British civil workers (30% women). No main effect of stressful life events or emotions on lymphocyte ratio was observed in either sex. However, in men, there was an interaction of life events with both positive and
negative emotions as well as a combined measure of general affect. Supporting our hypothesis, stressful life events were associated with impaired immune function in men who reported very low levels of both positive and negative emotions but
not in others. We discuss potential benefits of negative and positive emotions in the context of stress and immunity.
Doan, Stacey N., and Gary W. Evans. “Chaos
and Unpredictability from Birth to Age Three.” The Future of Children, vol. 30, issue 2, 2020, pp. 93-114.
Abstract: Many children, especially those from lower-income families, face considerable instability early in their lives. This may include changes in family structure, irregular family routines, frequent moves, fluctuating
daycare arrangements, and noisy, crowded, or generally chaotic environments. Moreover, instability and chaos affect young children's development both directly and, via their parents' and other caregivers' exposure to it, indirectly.
Unstable, chaotic environments make it more difficult for children to acquire self-regulatory skills, including self-control and planning, that help them manage their emotions and behaviors, write Stacey Doan and Gary Evans. And when
caregivers themselves confront unpredictable events and unreliable circumstances that strain their own adaptive capacities, their ability to provide sensitive, nurturing care may be compromised. In this article, Doan and Evans show us how
social and physical chaos can influence early child development. They focus not only on micro-level factors in families and their immediate surroundings, but also on macro-level processes such as public policy. For example, social safety
net programs that are designed to help families from disadvantaged backgrounds can sometimes inadvertently increase the instability and chaos in children's lives. The authors suggest how such programs could be redesigned to decrease rather
than exacerbate instability. They also review promising interventions such as parenting programs that may help to reduce instability in children's home lives.
Doan, Stacey N., Maternal
Suppression Moderates the
Relations between Maternal and Child Hair Cortisol.” Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 62, issue 8, 2020, pp. 1150-1157.
, , Amanda Tarullo, and Jerrold S. Meyer. “
Abstract: Self-reports and physiological indicators of stress such as cortisol levels are correlated in maternal and child samples. This relationship is likely to be influenced by maternal emotion regulation. Herein, we
investigate the moderating role of maternal regulation strategies on the association between maternal and child hair cortisol levels. Mother-child dyads (N = 63, child mean age = 49.74 months) participated in the study. Hair samples were
collected from mother and child, and cortisol was assayed. Mothers reported on their own emotion regulation strategies, namely expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal. As expected, mother and child hair cortisol levels were
significantly correlated. Interestingly, the relation between maternal and child hair cortisol was moderated by maternal suppression of emotion. Mother and child hair cortisol levels were related at low levels of maternal suppression, but
not at higher levels of suppression. Maternal cognitive reappraisal of emotion was not associated with cortisol levels.
Gaither, Sarah E., Joshua D. Perlin, and Stacey N. Doan. “Race, Gender, and the Development of Cross-Race Prosociality.” Frontiers in Psychology,
vol. 11, 2020, article 1525.
Abstract: Over the course of development, children acquire adult-like thinking about social categories such as race, which in turn informs their perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. However, children's developing
perceptions of race have been understudied particularly with respect to their potential influence on cross-race egalitarianism. Specifically, the acquisition of racial constancy, defined as the perception that race is a concrete and stable
category, has been associated with increased awareness of racial stereotypes and group status differences. Yet, little work has investigated behavioral outcomes stemming from the acquisition of racial constancy beliefs. Here, we investigate
whether the presence or absence of racial constancy beliefs differentially predicts inequality aversion with racial ingroup versus outgroup members for young children. White children (N = 202; ages 3-8) completed three sticker
resource-allocation games with either a White or a Black partner shown in a photograph, after which racial constancy was measured. Results revealed that the acquisition of racial constancy interacted with partner race to predict inequality
aversion outcomes in one game; however, age and gender also exerted strong effects.
Harris, Alison, Perceived
Relative Social Status and
Cognitive Load Influence Acceptance of Unfair Offers in the Ultimatum Game.” PLOS ONE, vol. 15, issue 1, 2020, e0227717.
, Livia Hughson, Danielle Green, Stacey N. Doan, Eric Hughson, and Catherine L. Reed. “
Abstract: Participants in the Ultimatum Game will often reject unfair resource allocations at personal cost, reflecting a trade-off between financial gain and maintenance of social standing. Although this rejection
behavior is linked to executive control, the exact role of cognitive regulation in relation to status cues is unclear. We propose that the salience of status cues affects how cognitive regulation resolves the conflict between financial gain
and social status considerations. Situations that tax executive control by limiting available cognitive resources should increase acceptance rates for unfair offers, particularly when the conflict between economic self-interest and social
reputation is high. Here, participants rated their own subjective social status, and then either mentally counted (Load) or ignored (No Load) simultaneously-presented tones while playing two rounds of the Ultimatum Game with an online
(sham) "Proposer" of either high or low social status. A logistic regression revealed an interaction of Proposer status with cognitive load. Compared to the No Load group, the Load group showed higher acceptance rates for unfair offers from
the high-status Proposer. In contrast, cognitive load did not influence acceptance rates for unfair offers from the low-status Proposer. Additionally, Proposer status interacted with the relative social distance between participant and
Proposer. Participants close in social distance to the high-status Proposer were more likely to accept the unfair offer than those farther in social distance, whereas the opposite pattern was observed for offers from the low-status
Proposer. Although rejection of unfair offers in the Ultimatum Game has previously been conceptualized as an intuitive response, these results instead suggest it reflects a deliberative strategy, dependent on cognitive resources, to
prioritize social standing over short-term financial gain. This study reveals the dynamic interplay of cognitive resources and status concerns within this paradigm, providing new insights into when and why people reject inequitable
divisions of resources.
Lee, Helen Y., and Stacey N. Doan. “Ethnicity Moderates the Association between Autonomic Functioning and Temperament in Preschool
Children.” Journal of Genetic Psychology, vol. 181, issue 2-3, 2020, pp. 181-190.
Abstract: Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) has been extensively investigated as a marker of adaptive emotional functioning in both children and adults, with studies linking RSA to temperamental dimensions such as
positive affect and extraversion. However, few studies have examined the extent to which relations between RSA and temperament characteristics vary across ethnicity in childhood. We examined relations between respiratory sinus arrhythmia
(RSA) and temperament dimensions (Activity Level, Task Orientation, and Affect-Extraversion) and the moderating role of ethnicity among preschoolers. Chinese- American (n = 28, Mage = 54.30 months) and European American
(n = 32, Mage = 50.41 months) preschoolers were assessed for their temperament and RSA. Findings indicated higher levels of Affect-Extraversion among European American children. Ethnicity moderated the association
between the baseline RSA and the Affect-Extraversion dimension of temperament, with a significant positive association found only for European American children. More research is needed to examine the effects of social-cultural experiences
on the relation between children’s affective regulation and autonomic functioning development.
Liu, Cindy H., and Stacey N. Doan. “Psychosocial Stress Contagion in Children and Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 59, issue 9-10, 2020, pp.
Abstract: The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019) pandemic has produced high and enduring levels of psychosocial stress for individuals and families across the world. Given the directives for social distancing and
isolation, families are faced with a number of immediate concerns, including how to optimally perform remote work without child care, educate their children at home, and prevent disease transmission. Caregivers who are considered essential
personnel and are engaged in tasks that put them at risk for virus contraction may be anxious about transmitting the virus to family members. There are additional short- and long-term concerns; for instance, the implications of job loss,
food and housing insecurity, and concerns about children's learning and mental health. The impact of early stress and adversity on physical and mental health is a well-known concern among pediatric health care providers. The current
pandemic is a chronic stressor that could potentially wear and tear our bodies, resulting in long-term health consequences. In the context of families and children, the direct and indirect effects of pandemic-related stress may be
exacerbated and multiplied due to a process of stress proliferation among family members. We refer to this process--the psychosocial stress experienced and proliferated by children and parents as a secondary of the pandemic--as stress
contagion. Given its profound and unprecedented effects on pediatric health, we explore how stress contagion manifests in families and children and suggest practice considerations for pediatric caregivers, who are uniquely trusted to
promote healthy relationships and coping strategies during this tumultuous time.
Natarajan, Rama, Dana Aljaber, Dawn Au, Christine Thai, Angelica Sanchez, Alan Nunez, Cristal Resto, Tanya Chavez, Marta M. Jankowska, Tarik Benmarhnia, Jiu-An Yang, Veronica Jones, Jerneja Tomsic, Jeannine S. McCune, Christopher Sistrunk,
Stacey N. Doan, Mayra Serrano, Robert D. Cardiff, Eric C. Dietze, and Victoria L. Seewaldt. “Environmental Exposures During Puberty: Window of Breast Cancer Risk and Epigenetic Damage.”
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, issue 2, 2020, e493.
Abstract: During puberty, a woman's breasts are vulnerable to environmental damage ("window of vulnerability"). Early exposure to environmental carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and unhealthy foods (refined sugar,
processed fats, food additives) are hypothesized to promote molecular damage that increases breast cancer risk. However, prospective human studies are difficult to perform and effective interventions to prevent these early exposures are
lacking. It is difficult to prevent environmental exposures during puberty. Specifically, young women are repeatedly exposed to media messaging that promotes unhealthy foods. Young women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods experience
additional challenges including a lack of access to healthy food and exposure to contaminated air, water, and soil. The purpose of this review is to gather information on potential exposures during puberty. In future directions, this
information will be used to help elementary/middle-school girls to identify and quantitate environmental exposures and develop cost-effective strategies to reduce exposures.
Otto, Michael W., David Rosenfield., Eugenia I. Gorin, Danielle L. Hoyt, Elijah A. Patten, Warren K. Bickel, Michael J. Zvolensky, and Stacey N. Doan. “Targeting Cognitive and Emotional Regulatory Skills for
Smoking Prevention in Low-SES Youth: A Randomized Trial of Mindfulness and Working Memory Interventions.” Addiction Research, vol. 104, 2020, article 106262.
Abstract: Research to date provides striking evidence that youth from low socio-economic status (SES) households are at an increased risk for smoking. Converging evidence from developmental studies, psychopathology
studies, intervention studies, and basic research on self-control abilities have identified working memory and distress tolerance as potential crucial modifiable risk factors to prevent smoking onset in this cohort. To confirm the value of
these mechanistic targets, this randomized trial was designed to evaluate the influence of working memory and distress tolerance interventions on risk of smoking initiation. Recruiting primarily from low-income community afternoon programs,
we randomized 93 adolescents to one of three intervention conditions, all of which were a prelude to a smoking-prevention informational intervention: (1) a working memory intervention, (2) a mindfulness training intervention to target
distress tolerance, and (3) a wellness-focused control condition. Despite a number of adherence efforts, engagement in treatment was limited, and under these conditions no significant evidence was found either for differential efficacy for
smoking prevention or for intervention effects on mechanistic targets. However, working memory capacity and distress tolerance were found to be negatively related to smoking propensity. As such, our mechanistic targets-working memory and
distress tolerance--may well be processes undergirding smoking, despite the fact that our interventions did not adequately engage these targets.
Son, Heimi, Young Ae Lee, Dong Hyun Ahn, Stacey N. Doan, Eun Hye Ha, and Yun Seo Choi. “Antecedents of Maternal Rejection across Cultures: An Examination of Child
Characteristics.” SAGE Open, vol. 10, issue 2, article 215824402092704.
Abstract: Maternal rejection may be associated with individual child characteristics. This relationship may vary across cultures. This study aimed to identify group differences in maternal rejection as well as child
characteristics. We also explored the moderating role of culture in influencing the relations between child characteristics and maternal rejection. In total, 153 mothers with a child aged 3 to 6 years participated in the survey.
Participants were from the East Coast of the United States (N = 48); Seoul, Korea (N = 65); and Japan (Tokyo and Saitama) (N = 40). American mothers perceived their children to be more active and extroverted than did Korean mothers, who
perceived their children to be better at controlling their behavior than American and Japanese mothers. American mothers reported significantly higher levels of their children's behavior problems than Korean and Japanese mothers. It was
observed that culture moderated the relations between child factors (e.g., effortful control and internalizing problems) and maternal rejection. These findings suggest that culture influences the association between child characteristics
(temperament and behavior) and maternal rejection.
Yang, Yang, Qingfang Song, Stacey N. Doan, and Qi Wang. “Maternal Reactions to Children's Negative Emotions: The Relations to Psychological Adjustment, Emotion Knowledge and Coping in
Cultural Contexts.” Transcultural Psychiatry, vol. 57, issue 3, 2020, pp. 408-420.
Abstract: This study examined the relations between maternal reactions to children’s negative emotions and children’s socio-emotional outcomes, including psychological adjustment, emotion knowledge, and coping strategies.
European American and Chinese immigrant mothers reported on their reactions to children’s (N = 117, M = 7.14 years) negative emotions and on children’s psychological adjustment. One year later, children were interviewed
for emotion knowledge and mothers reported on children’s use of coping strategies. Mothers from the two cultural groups reported the same level of supportive reactions to their children’s negative emotions, whereas Chinese immigrant mothers
more often adopted what are commonly considered to be non-supportive strategies than did European American mothers. Whereas supportive maternal reactions were associated with better child outcomes in both cultures, maternal non-supportive
reactions were negatively associated with children’s functioning for European American children but not for Chinese immigrant children. The findings shed critical light on the functional meaning of parenting practices in specific cultural
contexts in shaping developmental outcomes.
External grant: Doan, Stacey, Principal Investigator. “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Changes in the Stress Response:
Identifying Risk and Resilience in Adults and Children.” NSF RAPID BCS: 2027694, 2020, $164,138.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to worldwide national emergencies, causing heightened levels of stress for all individuals, potentially leading to increased anxiety, negative affect and stress. As a stressor, the
pandemic is unique in multiple ways: 1) it is universal, affecting individuals around the world, across all demographics; 2) its effects are wide-ranging, affecting the work place, schools and childcare; and 3) the threat is open-ended and
enduring. The nature of this pandemic suggests it is a psychosocial chronic stressor for individuals everywhere. Experimental studies examining the effects of a chronic stress is impossible due to ethical reasons, and prospective studies
investigating the effects of a pandemic on psychological and physiological functioning in U.S. families are basically non-existent. By capitalizing on our ongoing longitudinal study of stress and adaptation in families, the pandemic allows
us to address fundamental questions about the effects of chronic stress that we would not otherwise be able to answer. Our proposal aims to test fundamental theories of the effects of stress exposure, biological mechanisms, as well as risk
and resilience factors. We take a developmental approach examining stress proliferation within families as well as the role of potential buffering effects of self-regulatory competencies and positive parenting. Our proposal aims to address
such questions as 1) the extent to which a major chronic stressor prospectively predicts change in mothers' and children's physiological and psychological functioning; 2) the extent to which experiences of stress within caregiver-child
dyads might mutually accelerate and reinforce one another; and 3) the possible mitigating and exacerbating effects of resilience and risk factors within the dyad. Intellectual Merit: The proposal capitalizes on a naturalistic
within-subjects experimental design to determine whether the experience of chronic stress (as measured through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic) results in increases in cortisol and downstream psychological and behavioral effects in
adults and children. This proposal is rigorous, ground-breaking, and innovative as we will be able to test for the first time the effects of a worldwide pandemic on psychological and biological functioning of parents and young children. The
resulting data will allow us to test theoretical models of chronic stress, stress proliferation and risk and protective factors in families using a naturalistic experiment, increasing causal evidence for the role of stressors on
physiological and psychological outcomes, as well as testing cutting-edge models of risk and resilience. The proposal builds upon the prior work of our team, which has extensively investigated adversity, biological mechanisms and
adaptation. Broader Impacts: Improved well-being of individuals in society. Results from our study of a naturally-occurring pandemic threat will bring us closer to understanding mechanisms involved in the biological embedding of stress.
Moreover, as our study tests hypotheses about risk and resilience factors, findings will lay the groundwork for understanding who will be most affected by future pandemics or natural disasters, and the individual characteristics and
parenting behaviors that might protect children. Thus, we could potentially engineer behavioral interventions to prevent, mitigate or potentially reverse the impact of future stressors. Improved STEM education. The proposed project will
build capacity to engage in cutting-edge research within developmental science. The scientific collaboration between, Claremont McKenna College and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Pomona College and would allow Drs. Doan, Liu and Smiley
to introduce undergraduate and graduate students to a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and complementary research team involving developmental science research in basic biological mechanisms, training in multi-level methods (e.g.,
biological, psychological, and behavioral), and the role of technology in advancing data collection. Participation of women and underrepresented minorities. The research areas in our labs (e.g., culture and stress) and opportunity for
mentorship by women and ethnic minority faculty (Drs. Doan and Liu, who both self-identify as Asian American women and children of immigrants) readily attract underrepresented undergraduate students. Moreover, Dr. Doan was a
first-generation college student who has worked to recruit "first gen" students to the lab.
External Grant: Doan, Stacey, Principal Investigator. “Investigating the Feasibility of Resilience and Core Skills Training for Emerging Adults.” Ho Family Foundation
Special Programs Grant, 2020, $199,937.
Abstract: Evidence suggest increasing problems of adjustment and mental health problems during emerging adulthood. Yet to date evidence for efficacious, cost-effective interventions for understanding best strategies for
improving psychosocial well-being for college students is limited. In the current proposal, we proposed to use a multi-pronged strategy to investigate best practices for improving student well being.
External Grant: Lau, Anna S., Principal Investigator, and Stacey N. Doan, Co-Investigator. “Offsetting the Costs of Resilience among Asian American Youth Striving in the Context of
Disadvantage.” Patrick and Lily Okura Research Grant on Asian Pacific American Mental Health, 2020, $9,900.
Abstract: The current proposal examines relations between striving and physical health costs. Moreover, it tests the extent to which an intervention design to promote healthy self-regulatory skills could mitigate the
physiological costs of adaptation in the contexts of risk.