Interplay between children's biobehavioral plasticity and interparental relationship in the origins of internalizing problems

Rebecca L. Brock, Grazyna Kochanska, Lea J. Boldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study demonstrates the interplay between interparental relationship satisfaction and child plasticity in the origins of internalizing problems in 99 community mothers, fathers, and children. Our cumulative measure of plasticity integrated genetics (5-HTTLPR polymorphism), psychophysiology (skin conductance level), and observed behavior (inhibition, sadness, joy). The interaction between plasticity and interparental relationship satisfaction reflected differential susceptibility. Compared with low-plasticity peers, high-plasticity children had more internalizing problems from 5.5 to 12 years when the interparental relationship at 4.5 years was acrimonious, but fewer problems when it was harmonious. Further, almost half of the children in this sample were "differentially affected" by the interaction such that greater plasticity was associated with fewer internalizing problems when their parents had a harmonious relationship, a key feature of differential susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1050
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Biobehavioral plasticity
  • Differential susceptibility
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Interparental relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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