Advertisement

Relationships among caregiving, stress, and self-regulation in toddlers living in poverty

      Highlights

      • We tested toddlers' stress hormones and self-regulation responses to adversity.
      • The sample comprised 94 mothers and toddlers living in poverty in the United States.
      • Toddler stress did not mediate parental caregiving and child self-regulation.
      • Toddlers had better soothability if mothers were more emotionally supportive.

      Abstract

      Purpose

      The Developmental Psychobiological Model of Experiential Canalization (DPMEC) proposes that conditions of poverty-related adversity influence child self-regulation through parental caregiving, stress hormones, and the child's genetics. However, empirical findings investigating these relationships with prolonged stress hormones are mixed. Further, the relationships among conditions of adversity with prolonged stress hormones have seldom been investigated in toddlers living in poverty. Guided by the DPMEC, we examined the relationships among maternal caregiving, prolonged stress, and self-regulation in toddlers living in poverty in the United States, to include examining whether toddler prolonged stress mediated relations between maternal caregiving and child self-regulation.

      Design and methods

      Participants were mothers and toddlers (20 to 24 months of age) living in poverty, who provided hair samples to measure four months of average cortisol concentration to estimate prolonged stress. We used observational measures to examine maternal caregiving and indirect report to measure children's self-regulation.

      Results

      Findings did not support the role of toddler prolonged stress in mediating the relationship between maternal caregiving and toddler self-regulation. However, multiple linear regression models showed that higher levels of maternal emotionally supportive caregiving significantly predicted better toddler soothability (b = 0.90; p = .03; 95% CI [0.10, 1.69]; partial correlation = 0.26).

      Conclusions

      This study adds partial support for the DPMEC to represent associations between maternal caregiving and toddler self-regulation for mothers and toddlers experiencing poverty.

      Practice implications

      While these data come from an observational study, pediatric nurses may consider assessing maternal supportive caregiving upon reports of poor toddler soothability.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      References

        • Bates R.
        • Salsberry P.
        • Ford J.
        Measuring stress in young children using hair cortisol: The state of the science.
        Biological Research for Nursing. 2017; 19: 499-510
        • Bates R.A.
        • Ford J.L.
        • Jiang H.
        • Pickler R.
        • Justice L.M.
        • Dynia J.M.
        • Ssekayombya P.
        Sociodemographics and chronic stress in mother–toddler dyads living in poverty.
        Developmental Psychobiology. 2021; 63e22179
        • Bates R.A.
        • Salsberry P.J.
        • Ford J.L.
        • Pickler R.H.
        • Dynia J.M.
        • Justice L.M.
        Hair sampling for cortisol analysis with mother-toddler dyads living in low-income homes.
        Infant Behavior and Development. 2020; 61
        • Bates R.A.
        • Singletary B.
        • Yacques A.
        • Justice L.
        Sleep and stress in mother–toddler dyads living in low-income homes.
        Developmental Psychobiology. 2020; 63: 1635-1643
        • Bayley N.
        Bayley scales of infant and toddler development-III.
        The Psychological Corporation, 2006
        • Blair C.
        • Granger D.A.
        • Willoughby M.
        • Mills-Koonce R.
        • Cox M.
        • Greenberg M.T.
        • Fortunato C.K.
        Salivary cortisol mediates effects of poverty and parenting on executive functions in early childhood.
        Child Development. 2011; 82
        • Blair C.
        • Raver C.C.
        Child development in the context of adversity: Experiential canalization of brain and behavior.
        American Psychologist. 2012; 67: 309-318
        • Brotman L.M.
        • Gouley K.K.
        • Klein R.G.
        • Castellanos F.X.
        • Pine D.S.
        Children, stress, and context: Integrating basic, clinical, and experimental prevention research.
        Child Development. 2003; 74: 1053-1057
        • Bryson H.E.
        • Mensah F.
        • Goldfeld S.
        • Price A.M.H.
        • Giallo R.
        Hair cortisol in mother-child dyads: Examining the roles of maternal parenting and stress in the context of early childhood adversity.
        European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2020; 30: 563-577
        • Caldwell B.M.
        • Bradley R.H.
        Home observation for measurement of the environment: Administration manual.
        Arizona State University, Family & Human Dynamics Research Institute2003
        • Cohen J.
        Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences.
        Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988
        • Council on Community Pediatrics
        Poverty and child health in the United States.
        Pediatrics. 2016; 137 (Article e20160339)
        • Evans G.W.
        • English K.
        The environment of poverty: Multiple stressor exposure, psychophysiological stress, and socioemotional adjustment.
        Child Development. 2002; 73: 1238-1248
        • Evans G.W.
        • Schamberg M.A.
        Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory.
        Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009; 106: 6545-6549
        • Faul F.
        • Erdfelder E.
        • Buchner A.
        • Lang A.-G.
        Statistical power analyses using G*power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses.
        Behavior Research Methods. 2009; 41: 1149-1160
        • Faul F.
        • Erdfelder E.
        • Lang A.G.
        • Buchner A.
        G*power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences.
        Behavior Research Methods. 2007; 39: 175-191
        • Fernald L.C.
        • Gunnar M.R.
        Poverty-alleviation program participation and salivary cortisol in very low-income children.
        Social Science and Medicine. 2009; 68: 2180-2189
        • Fisher P.A.
        • Stoolmiller M.
        • Gunnar M.R.
        • Burraston B.O.
        Effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers on diurnal cortisol activity.
        Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2007; 32: 892-905
        • Goodman S.H.
        • Gotlib I.H.
        Risk for psychopathology in the children of depressed mothers: A developmental model for understanding mechanisms of transmission.
        Psychological Review. 1999; 106: 458-490
        • Hayes A.F.
        Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach.
        Guilford Press, 2013
        • Howse R.B.
        • Lange G.
        • Farran D.C.
        • Boyles C.D.
        Motivation and self-regulation as predictors of achievement in economically disadvantaged young children. Jexperimentedu.
        The Journal of Experimental Education. 2003; 71: 151-174
        • Kishiyama M.M.
        • Boyce W.T.
        • Jimenez A.M.
        • Perry L.M.
        • Knight R.T.
        Socioeconomic disparities affect prefrontal function in children.
        Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2009; 21: 1106-1115
        • Kiss M.
        • Fechete G.
        • Pop M.
        • Susa G.
        Early childhood self-regulation in context: Parental and familial environmental influences.
        Cognition, Brain, Behaviour: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 2014; 18: 55-85
        • Linver M.R.
        • Martin A.
        • Brooks-Gunn J.
        Measuring infants’ home environment: The IT-HOME for infants between birth and 12 months in four national data sets.
        Parenting. 2004; 4: 115-137
        • Loussouarn G.
        • Lozano I.
        • Panhard S.
        • Collaudin C.
        • El Rawadi C.
        • Genain G.
        Diversity in human hair growth, diameter, colour and shape. An in vivo study on young adults from 24 different ethnic groups observed in the five continents.
        European Journal of Dermatology. 2016; 26: 144-154
        • Martin R.P.
        • Wisenbaker J.
        • Baker J.
        • Huttunen M.O.
        Gender differences in temperament at six months and five years.
        Infant Behavior and Development. 1997; 20: 339-347
        • Meyer J.
        • Novak M.
        • Hamel A.
        • Rosenberg K.
        Extraction and analysis of cortisol from human and monkey hair.
        Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2014; 83 (Article e50882)
        • Mills-Koonce W.R.
        • Propper C.B.
        • Barnett M.
        Poor infant soothability and later insecure-ambivalent attachment: Developmental change in phenotypic markers of risk or two measures of the same construct?.
        Infant Behavior and Development. 2012; 35: 215-225
        • Moffitt T.E.
        • Arseneault L.
        • Belsky D.
        • Dickson N.
        • Hancox R.J.
        • Harrington H.
        • Caspi A.
        A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety.
        Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011; 108: 2693-2698
        • Mortensen J.A.
        • Mastergeorge A.M.
        A meta-analytic review of relationship-based interventions for low-income families with infants and toddlers: Facilitating supportive parent–child interactions.
        Infant Mental Health Journal. 2014; 35: 336-353
        • Novakovic R.
        • Cavelaars A.
        • Geelen A.
        • Nikolic M.
        • Altaba I.I.
        • Vinas B.R.
        • de Groot L.C.
        Socio-economic determinants of micronutrient intake and status in Europe: A systematic review.
        Public Health Nutrition. 2014; 17: 1031-1045
        • Olds D.L.
        • Holmberg J.R.
        • Donelan-McCall N.
        • Luckey D.W.
        • Knudtson M.D.
        • Robinson J.
        Effects of home visits by paraprofessionals and by nurses on children: Follow-up of a randomized trial at ages 6 and 9 years.
        JAMA Pediatrics. 2014; 168: 114-121
        • Olino T.M.
        • Durbin C.E.
        • Klein D.N.
        • Hayden E.P.
        • Dyson M.W.
        Gender differences in young children’s temperament traits: Comparisons across observational and parent-report methods.
        Journal of Personality. 2013; 81: 119-129
        • Peacock-Chambers E.
        • Ivy K.
        • Bair-Merritt M.
        Primary care interventions for early childhood development: A systematic review.
        Pediatrics. 2017; 140
        • Piotrowski J.T.
        • Lapierre M.A.
        • Linebarger D.L.
        Investigating correlates of self-regulation in early childhood with a representative sample of English-speaking American families.
        Journal of Child and Family Studies. 2013; 22: 423-436
        • Putnam S.P.
        • Gartstein M.A.
        • Rothbart M.K.
        Measurement of fine-grained aspects of toddler temperament: The early childhood behavior questionnaire.
        Infant Behavior & Development. 2006; 29: 386-401
        • Putnam S.P.
        • Jacobs J.F.
        • Gartstein M.A.
        • Rothbart M.K.
        Development and assessment of short and very short forms of the early childhood behavior questionnaire. [poster presented at international conference on infant studies, Baltimore, MD].
        2010
        • Putnam S.P.
        • Rothbart M.K.
        • Gartstein M.A.
        Homotypic and heterotypic continuity of fine-grained temperament during infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood.
        Infant and Child Development. 2008; 17: 387-405
        • Rothbart M.K.
        The early childhood behavior questionnaire (ECBQ).
        Bowdoin College, 2006
        • Rothbart M.K.
        • Rueda M.R.
        The development of effortful control.
        in: Mayr U. Awh E. Keele S.W. Developing individuality in the human brain: A tribute to michael i. Posner. American Psychological Association, 2005: 167-188
        • Rothbart M.K.
        • Sheese B.E.
        • Rueda M.R.
        • Posner M.I.
        Developing mechanisms of self-regulation in early life.
        Emotion Review. 2011; 3: 207-213
        • Roubinov D.S.
        • Boyce W.T.
        Parenting and SES: Relative values or enduring principles?.
        Current Opinion in Psychology. 2017; 15: 162-167
        • Russell E.
        • Koren G.
        • Rieder M.
        • Van Uum S.
        Hair cortisol as a biological marker of chronic stress: Current status, future directions and unanswered questions.
        Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012; 37: 589-601
      1. Salimetrics. (n.d.). Inter- and intra-assay coefficients of variability. https://salimetrics.com/calculating-inter-and-intra-assay-coefficients-of-variability/

        • Salsberry P.
        • Gugiu M.
        • Dynia J.
        • Justice L.
        • Logan J.
        • Purtell K.
        • Snyder-Hill S.
        The kids in Columbus study.
        • Shonkoff J.P.
        Building a new biodevelopmental framework to guide the future of early childhood policy.
        Child Development. 2010; 81: 357-367
        • Sorondo B.M.
        • Reeb-Sutherland B.C.
        Associations between infant temperament, maternal stress, and infants’ sleep across the first year of life.
        Infant Behavior & Development. 2015; 39: 131-135
        • Wasserstein R.L.
        • Lazar N.A.
        The ASA statement on p-values: Context, process, and purpose.
        The American Statistician. 2016; 70: 129-133
        • Wennig R.
        Potential problems with the interpretation of hair analysis results.
        Forensic Science International. 2000; 107: 1-3