Psychosocial Deprivation, Executive Functions, and the Emergence of Socio-Emotional Behavior Problems
McDermott, Jennifer Martin
Zeanah, Charles H.
Fox, Nathan A.
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CitationMcDermott, Jennifer Martin, Sonya Troller-Renfree, Ross Vanderwert, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah, and Nathan A. Fox. 2013. Psychosocial deprivation, executive functions, and the emergence of socio-emotional behavior problems. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7:167.
AbstractEarly psychosocial deprivation can negatively impact the development of executive functions (EFs). Here we explore the impact of early psychosocial deprivation on behavioral and physiological measures (i.e., event-related potentials; ERPs) of two facets of EF, inhibitory control and response monitoring, and their associations with internalizing and externalizing outcomes in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP; Zeanah et al., 2003). This project focuses on two groups of children placed in institutions shortly after birth and then randomly assigned in infancy to either a foster care intervention or to remain in their current institutional setting. A group of community controls was recruited for comparison. The current study assesses these children at 8-years of age examining the effects of early adversity, the potential effects of the intervention on EF and the role of EF skills in socio-emotional outcomes. Results reveal exposure to early psychosocial deprivation was associated with impaired inhibitory control on a flanker task. Children in the foster care intervention exhibited better response monitoring compared to children who remained in the institution on the error-related positivity (Pe). Moreover, among children in the foster care intervention those who exhibited larger error-related negativity (ERN) responses had lower levels of socio-emotional behavior problems. Overall, these data identify specific aspects of EF that contribute to adaptive and maladaptive socio-emotional outcomes among children experiencing early psychosocial deprivation.
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