Neighborhood crime as a predictor of individual differences in emotional processing and regulation

Dana Charles Mccoy, Amanda L. Roy, C. Cybele Raver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emerging research suggests that early exposure to environmental adversity has important implications for the development of brain regions associated with emotion regulation, yet little is known about how such adversity translates into observable differences in children's emotion-related behavior. The present study examines the relationship between geocoded neighborhood crime and urban pre-adolescents' emotional attention, appraisal, and response. Results indicate that living in a high-crime neighborhood is associated with greater selective attention toward negatively valenced emotional stimuli on a dot probe task, less biased appraisal of fear on a facial identification task, and lower rates of teacher-reported internalizing behaviors in the classroom. These findings suggest that children facing particularly high levels of environmental threat may develop different regulatory processes (e.g. greater use of emotional suppression) than their peers from low-crime neighborhoods in order to manage the unique stressors and social demands of their communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-174
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental science
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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