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Poster A18

Associations Between Socioeconomic Stress, Engagement in Joint Attention, and Infant Neurodevelopment in 24- to 36-Month-Old Infants

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ana Badal1 (, Leen Asaad1, Diana Pombo1; 1York University

Explorations of joint attention (JA) have highlighted how the quantity and quality of interactions between infants and their caregivers shape infant neurodevelopment and scaffold essential socioemotional skills (e.g., language, socioemotional cognition) (Mundy & Jarrold, 2010). However, it is unknown whether early life stress might disrupt early neurodevelopment via reductions in the quantity or quality of JA interactions. The current study explores associations between caregiver socioeconomic stress (SE-stress) at 6 months, dimensions of engagement in JA at 24 months, and baseline neural activity in 24- to 36-month-old infants. Caregiver-infant interactions during free play, self-reported caregiver SE-stress and infant baseline EEG were obtained from 116 mother-infant dyads from predominantly low-income backgrounds. Free-play videos were coded for dimensions of JA (i.e., duration, frequency, type of initiation, type of termination and type of JA) and computed into quantity and quality composite scores. Theta and alpha power and frontal-central-parietal alpha functional connectivity were extracted from baseline EEG. Multiple regression will test whether caregiver SE-stress at 6 months will be associated with a) less and lower quality engagement in JA at 24 months, b) lower EEG power in theta and alpha frequency bands, and c) lower alpha functional connectivity during baseline at 24 and 36 months. A moderation analysis will test whether the quality and quantity of engagement in JA during play can buffer against negative effects of SE-stress on infant neural mechanisms underlying JA. This analysis plan has been pre-registered using the Open Science Framework ( Ongoing analyses will be complete by March 2024.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024