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Early life stress and child temperament style as predictors of childhood anxiety and depressive symptoms: Findings from the longitudinal study of Australian children

Lewis, A.J. and Olsson, C.A. (2011) Early life stress and child temperament style as predictors of childhood anxiety and depressive symptoms: Findings from the longitudinal study of Australian children. Depression Research and Treatment, 2011 . pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the relationship between stressful infant environments and later childhood anxiety and depressive symptoms varies as a function of individual differences in temperament style. Methods. Data was drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). This study examined 3425 infants assessed at three time points, at 1-year, at 2/3 years and at 4/5 years. Temperament was measured using a 12-item version of Toddler Temperament Scale (TTS) and was scored for reactive, avoidant, and impulsive dimensions. Logistic regression was used to model direct relationships and additive interactions between early life stress, temperament, and emotional symptoms at 4 years of age. Analyses were adjusted for socioeconomic status, parental education, and marital status. Results. Stressful family environments experienced in the infant's first year of life (high versus low) and high reactive, avoidant, and impulsive temperament styles directly and independently predicted anxiety and depressive problems in children at 4 years of age. There was no evidence of interaction between temperament and family stress exposure. Conclusions. Both infant temperament and stress exposures are independent and notable predictors of later anxiety and depressive problems in childhood. The risk relationship between stress exposure in infancy and childhood emotion problems did not vary as a function of infant temperament. Implications for preventive intervention and future research directions are discussed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Copyright: © 2011 Andrew J. Lewis and Craig A. Olsson.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/30840
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