Poster B139, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Intergenerational early adversity: executive function and stress physiology in parents and children from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds
Eric Pakulak1, Theodore Bell1, Ryan Giuliano1, Christina Karns1, Helen Neville1; 1University of Oregon
Two aspects of brain function that underlie disparities in outcomes related to early adversity are stress physiology and self-regulation (e.g. executive function; EF, Blair & Raver, 2012). Two-generation programs targeting these systems in parents and their children have been shown to be effective (e.g., Neville et al., 2013). Here we report preliminary results from a project in which we are acquiring measures of EF and autonomic nervous system function in preschool-aged children (n = 66) and their parents (n = 57) from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. Child EF measures included inhibitory control (IC) (Konchaska, et al., 1996) and working memory (WM). Adult EF measures also included IC (Berkman et al., 2014) and applied EF (Cella et al., 2012). As proxies of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) functions, we assessed respiratory sinus arrhythmia and pre-ejection period. Controlling for child age, baseline PNS function in adults predicted baseline PNS function in their children (r = .363, p < .02). No similar relationship was found for SNS function. Adult IC predicted child IC (r = .357, p < .02), and there was a non-significant trend for a similar relationship between adult applied EF and child IC (r = -.260, p = .10). No similar relationships were found for WM measures. These preliminary results suggest a degree of specificity in the relationship between foundational systems in children and parents, as intergenerational relationships were stronger for measures of PNS function and inhibitory control.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Other