Many foster children experience multiple placements. Although multiple placements tend to be associated with elevated levels of behavioral and emotional problems, it is not clear whether changes in placements increase problems or vice versa. To test predictive pathways between number of placements and children’s problems, Aarons et al. (2010) used data for 500 foster children… Read more »


It has been found that prenatal stress causes subsequent emotional and behavioral problems in animals, but that maternal grooming can reduce such problems. To explore analogous phenomena in humans, a British team analyzed relations between mothers’ anxiety during pregnancy, their subsequent stroking of their babies, and the children’s problems at age 3.5 years (Pickles et… Read more »


Most mental health workers acknowledge that behavior problems are shaped by both environmental and genetic factors. Leve et al. (2009) tested the hypothesis that a particular kind of environmental input-structured parenting-would have different effects on children at high vs. low genetic risk for psychopathology. They did this by studying adopted children whose birth parents had… Read more »


Psychopathic personality (also known as sociopathic personality and antisocial personality) refers to “individuals who have a manipulative interpersonal style, lack empathy and remorse, and lack the ability to consider the consequences of their behaviour” (Forsman et al., 2010, p. 45). The hypothetical construct of psychopathic personality implies enduring characteristics that predict antisocial behavior. However, research is needed to determine… Read more »


Advances in genetic research reveal that complex human traits are influenced by many genes, each having very small effects. To take account of the multiplicity of genetic influences, statistical models derived from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are used to aggregate genetic factors associated with particular traits into polygenic scores for those traits. Two such traits… Read more »


Much of the literature on reading impairment is based on Anglophone populations. Because there are so many gaps and inconsistencies in relations between the spelling and pronunciation of English words, the findings from Anglophone populations may not be generalizable to other languages. To test prediction of reading impairment in French children, Fluss et al. (2009)… Read more »


Children may experience various forms of bullying over various periods. The term “social victimization” refers to behaviors that are intended to harm the victims’ social status, relationships, or self-esteem. Among school children, such behaviors include social exclusion, malicious gossip, and friendship manipulation. Experiences of social victimization have been found to be associated with various signs… Read more »


Early elevations of Internalizing and Externalizing problems are often found to predict later problems. To determine how early Internalizing/Externalizing problems might be associated with brain development, Muetzel et al. (2018) analyzed CBCL Internalizing and Externalizing scores obtained at ages 6 and 10 in relation to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data at ages 8 and 10… Read more »


Cerebral malaria is an especially severe form of malaria that affects 575,000 African children under the age of 5. Many of the survivors suffer long-term cognitive and behavioral impairments. Bangirana et al. (2009) tested the effects of computerized cognitive training on the neuropsychological and behavioral functioning of Ugandan children who had survived cerebral malaria. Children… Read more »


The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has come into use to reflect findings that autistic features are manifest in degrees and in various combinations, rather than simply being present versus absent. Genetic research has revealed that ASD—like many other complex human traits—is affected by numerous genetic factors, each of which may have very small effects…. Read more »


The Simmons Longitudinal Study began with assessment of children entering kindergarten in a New England community. Longitudinal assessments over three decades included numerous family and child variables. Pardis et al. (2009) used data obtained when the participants (N = 346) were adolescents to test prediction of subsequent Internalizing and Externalizing scores on the Young Adult… Read more »


SSRIs are widely used to treat depression, including during pregnancy. Because SSRIs cross the placenta and the blood-brain barrier, questions arise about possible effects on fetal development. To provide more refined tests of previously reported associations between prenatal SSRI exposure and children’s subsequent functioning, Norwegian researchers compared age 1½-, 3-, and 5-year CBCL/1½-5 scores, as… Read more »