Early adverse childhood experiences and preschoolers' attentional regulation: A latent class analysis

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Abstract

Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) profoundly disrupt preschoolers' attentional regulation development. Different patterns of ACEs may be associated with different attentional regulation outcomes. Objective: Drawing from developmental systems theory and attachment theory, this study aimed to identify distinct patterns of early ACEs at age three and examined the associations of these patterns with preschoolers' attentional regulation at age five. Participants and setting: This study used the two waves of longitudinal data from the Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 4457). Methods: First, this study applied latent class analysis (LCA) across nine indicators of ACEs at age three. Second, class membership was examined for associations with preschoolers' attentional regulation at age five. Results: LCA identified four latent classes of ACEs: separation (41.2 %), parental incarceration (33 %), family dysfunction (20.8 %), and child abuse (5 %). Children in the child abuse class exhibited lower levels of attentional regulation than those in the family dysfunction class (0.33 standard deviation difference, p < .01) or separation class (0.48 standard deviation difference, p < .001). Children in the parental incarceration class demonstrated lower levels of attentional regulation than those in the separation class (0.63 standard deviation difference, p < .001). Conclusions: Findings provide implications for the need to prevent early child abuse and incorporate trauma-informed intervention programs to support preschoolers' attentional regulation during school-entry age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106703
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume149
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Longitudinal design
  • Person-centered approach
  • preschoolers' attentional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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