Dysregulation profile in children of ethnoracially diverse at-risk families: Factor structure and longitudinal correlates

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The present work sought to confirm the factor structure and examine longitudinal strengths-based and mental health correlates of the dysregulation profile (DP) in children of at-risk fragile families of diverse ethnoracial backgrounds. The data came from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 2125 families). Mothers (Mage = 25.3) were mostly unmarried (74.6%), and children (51.4% boys) were identified as Black (47.0%), Hispanic (21.4%), White (16.7%), or multiracial or other backgrounds. Childhood DP was constructed using mother reports of the Child Behavior Checklist at age 9. Mothers' in-home parent-child interactions and depressive symptoms were assessed at child age 5. At age 15, children responded about their own mental health, social skills, and other strengths-focused outcomes. A bifactor DP structure fit well to the data, with the DP factor representing difficulties in self-regulation. Using SEM, we found that mothers who were more depressed and used less warm parenting at child age 5 had children who presented with higher DP at age 9. DP was in turn associated with less social skills, perseverance, optimism, and more anxiety, depression, and impulsivity at adolescence. Childhood DP appears to be relevant and applicable for at-risk, diverse families, and may also impede on children's future positive functioning.

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In Press
Developmental Psychopathology