Profiles of early family environments and the growth of executive function: Maternal sensitivity as a protective factor

Seulki Ku, Clancy Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We identified family risk profiles at 6 months using socioeconomic status (SES) and maternal mental health indicators with data from the Family Life Project (N = 1,292). We related profiles to executive function (EF) at 36 months (intercept) and growth in EF between 36 and 60 months. Latent profile analysis revealed five distinct profiles, characterized by different combinations of SES and maternal mental health symptoms. Maternal sensitivity predicted faster growth in EF among children in the profile characterized by deep poverty and the absence of maternal mental health symptoms. Maternal sensitivity also predicted higher EF intercept but slower EF growth among children in the profile characterized by deep poverty and maternal mental health symptoms, and children in the near poor (low SES), mentally healthy profile. Maternal sensitivity also predicted higher EF intercept but had no effect on growth in EF in the near poor, mentally distressed profile. In contrast, maternal sensitivity did not predict the intercept or growth of EF in the privileged SES/mentally healthy profile. Our findings using a person-centered approach provide a more nuanced understanding of the role of maternal sensitivity in the growth of EF, such that maternal sensitivity may differentially affect the growth of EF in various contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • executive function
  • family profiles
  • maternal mental health
  • maternal sensitivity
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Profiles of early family environments and the growth of executive function: Maternal sensitivity as a protective factor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this