The developmental trajectories of attention focusing, attentional and behavioral persistence, and externalizing problems during school-age years

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Abstract

The developmental trajectories of attention focusing (by parents' and teachers' reports) and attentional and behavioral persistence (observed during a laboratory task) - 2 indexes of effortful control - and externalizing problems from ages 5 to 10 years were examined for 356 children combined from a pair of 3-wave (2 years apart) longitudinal studies. The authors identified clusters of children with distinct trajectories for these variables and examined the links between the effortful control trajectories and the externalizing problem trajectories. Although attention focusing remained relatively stable, attentional and behavioral persistence continued to show mean-level changes (especially among the children with lower levels of persistence). Children with high and stable trajectories of effortful control tended to exhibit low and stable trajectories of externalizing problems, whereas those with lower and/or less stable trajectories of effortful control showed more elevated and/or fluctuating trajectories of externalizing problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Attention focusing
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Effortful control
  • Externalizing problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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