Stress, Self-Regulation, and Psychopathology in Middle Childhood

Duration: 2014 - 2019
Funding: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Principal Investigator: Mark T. Greenberg
Principal Investigator: Clancy Blair
Principal Investigator: Lynne Vernon-Feagans
Partners: University of North Carolina, New York University

diverse group of smiling middle school students



This project examined the ways that self-regulation development is limited by adversity in families and by high levels of social and economic stratification in more geographically isolated communities characterized by high rates of poverty, unemployment, and low social capital.

Data from this project came from the Family Life Project, which recruited 1,292 families living in rural Pennsylvania and North Carolina at the time of their child’s birth in 2003, and the children have been continuously studied throughout childhood.  The Family Life Project oversamples children in poverty to understand the effects of adversity on development.

As the Family Life Project children were entering middle school, this was a sensitive time for the development or exacerbation of mental health problems, as well as changing social dynamics and the potential for experimentation with substances. Children and caregivers completed home visits which included parent-child interaction tasks, a stress exposure task, questionnaires, and saliva samples.  Parents completed a diagnostic interview regarding their child’s mental health.

Project Team