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Concept: Developmental psychology


To explore the nature of paternal involvement in early child-rearing adopting a social developmental perspective, and estimate its effect on behavioural outcomes of children aged 9 and 11 years.

Concepts: Cohort study, Developmental psychology, Childhood, Human development


Dyscalculia, dyslexia, and specific language impairment (SLI) are relatively specific developmental learning disabilities in math, reading, and oral language, respectively, that occur in the context of average intellectual capacity and adequate environmental opportunities. Past research has been dominated by studies focused on single impairments despite the widespread recognition that overlapping and comorbid deficits are common. The present study took an epidemiological approach to study the learning profiles of a large school age sample in language, reading, and math. Both general learning profiles reflecting good or poor performance across measures and specific learning profiles involving either weak language, weak reading, weak math, or weak math and reading were observed. These latter four profiles characterized 70% of children with some evidence of a learning disability. Low scores in phonological short-term memory characterized clusters with a language-based weakness whereas low or variable phonological awareness was associated with the reading (but not language-based) weaknesses. The low math only group did not show these phonological deficits. These findings may suggest different etiologies for language-based deficits in language, reading, and math, reading-related impairments in reading and math, and isolated math disabilities.

Concepts: Developmental psychology, Learning disability, Reading, Specific language impairment, Special education, Disability, Educational psychology, Dyslexia


Animal studies demonstrate a clear link between prenatal exposure to glucocorticoids (GC) and altered offspring brain development. We aim to examine whether prenatal GC exposure programs long-term mental health in humans.

Concepts: Social Distortion, The Offspring, Glucocorticoid, Psychology, Developmental psychology, Nervous system, Human, Embryo


Some studies have indicated that social engagement is associated with better cognitive outcomes. This study aimed to investigate associations between life-course social engagement (civic participation) and cognitive status at age 50, adjusting for social networks and support, behavioural, health, social and socio-economic characteristics.

Concepts: Development studies, British nationality law, Cognition, Cognitive psychology, Behaviorism, Developmental psychology, Psychology, Sociology


Building on well-established animal data demonstrating the effects of early maternal support on hippocampal development and adaptive coping, a few longitudinal studies suggest that early caregiver support also impacts human hippocampal development. How caregiving contributes to human hippocampal developmental trajectories, whether there are sensitive periods for these effects, as well as whether related variation in hippocampal development predicts later childhood emotion functioning are of major public health importance. The current study investigated these questions in a longitudinal study of preschoolers assessed annually for behavioral and emotional development, including observed caregiver support. One hundred and twenty-seven children participated in three waves of magnetic resonance brain imaging through school age and early adolescence. Multilevel modeling of the effects of preschool and school-age maternal support on hippocampal volumes across the three waves was conducted. Hippocampal volume increased faster for those with higher levels of preschool maternal support. Subjects with support 1 SD above the mean had a 2.06 times greater increase in total hippocampus volume across the three scans than those with 1 SD below the mean (2.70% vs. 1.31%). No effect of school-age support was found. Individual slopes of hippocampus volume were significantly associated with emotion regulation at scan 3. The findings demonstrate a significant effect of early childhood maternal support on hippocampal volume growth across school age and early adolescence and suggest an early childhood sensitive period for these effects. They also show that this growth trajectory is associated with later emotion functioning.

Concepts: Longitudinal study, Hippocampus, Preadolescence, Developmental psychology, Brain, Sociology, Adolescence, Trajectory


Numerical processing has been demonstrated to be closely associated with arithmetic skills, however, our knowledge on the development of the relevant cognitive mechanisms is limited. The present longitudinal study investigated the developmental trajectories of numerical processing in 42 children with age-adequate arithmetic development and 41 children with dyscalculia over a 2-year period from beginning of Grade 2, when children were 7; 6 years old, to beginning of Grade 4. A battery of numerical processing tasks (dot enumeration, non-symbolic and symbolic comparison of one- and two-digit numbers, physical comparison, number line estimation) was given five times during the study (beginning and middle of each school year). Efficiency of numerical processing was a very good indicator of development in numerical processing while within-task effects remained largely constant and showed low long-term stability before middle of Grade 3. Children with dyscalculia showed less efficient numerical processing reflected in specifically prolonged response times. Importantly, they showed consistently larger slopes for dot enumeration in the subitizing range, an untypically large compatibility effect when processing two-digit numbers, and they were consistently less accurate in placing numbers on a number line. Thus, we were able to identify parameters that can be used in future research to characterize numerical processing in typical and dyscalculic development. These parameters can also be helpful for identification of children who struggle in their numerical development.

Concepts: Time, Developmental psychology, Counting, Educational years, C, Third grade, Mathematics, Number


Childhood and adolescence are important developmental phases which influence health and well-being across the life span. Social relationships are fundamental to child and adolescent development; yet studies have been limited to children’s relationships with other humans. This paper provides an evidence review for the potential associations between pet ownership and emotional; behavioural; cognitive; educational and social developmental outcomes. As the field is in the early stages; a broad set of inclusion criteria was applied. A systematic search of databases and grey literature sources found twenty-two studies meeting selection criteria. The review found evidence for an association between pet ownership and a wide range of emotional health benefits from childhood pet ownership; particularly for self-esteem and loneliness. The findings regarding childhood anxiety and depression were inconclusive. Studies also showed evidence of an association between pet ownership and educational and cognitive benefits; for example, in perspective-taking abilities and intellectual development. Evidence on behavioural development was unclear due to a lack of high quality research. Studies on pet ownership and social development provided evidence for an association with increased social competence; social networks; social interaction and social play behaviour. Overall, pet ownership and the significance of children’s bonds with companion animals have been underexplored; there is a shortage of high quality and longitudinal studies in all outcomes. Prospective studies that control for a wide range of confounders are required.

Concepts: Social relation, Developmental psychology, Child, Educational psychology, Behavior, Adolescence, Psychology, Sociology


This study investigated the energy intake and expenditure of professional adolescent academy-level soccer players during a competitive week. Over a seven day period that included four training days, two rest days and a match day, energy intake (self-reported weighed food diary and 24-h recall) and expenditure (tri-axial accelerometry) were recorded in 10 male players from a professional English Premier League club. The mean macronutrient composition of the dietary intake was 318 ± 24 g·day(-1) (5.6 ± 0.4 g·kg(-1) BM) carbohydrate, 86 ± 10 g·day(-1) (1.5 ± 0.2 g·kg(-1) BM) protein and 70 ± 7 g·day(-1) (1.2 ± 0.1 g·kg(-1) BM) fats, representing 55% ± 3%, 16% ± 1%, and 29% ± 2% of mean daily energy intake respectively. A mean daily energy deficit of -1302 ± 1662 kJ (p = 0.035) was observed between energy intake (9395 ± 1344 kJ) and energy expenditure (10679 ± 1026 kJ). Match days (-2278 ± 2307 kJ, p = 0.012) and heavy training days (-2114 ± 2257 kJ, p = 0.016) elicited the greatest deficits between intake and expenditure. In conclusion, the mean daily energy intake of professional adolescent academy-level soccer players was lower than the energy expended during a competitive week. The magnitudes of these deficits were greatest on match and heavy training days. These findings may have both short and long term implications on the performance and physical development of adolescent soccer players.

Concepts: Developmental psychology, Weighted mean, Economics, Deficit spending, Arithmetic mean, Deficit, Cost, Premier League


The development of cognitive and socioemotional skills early in life influences later health and well-being. Existing estimates of unmet developmental potential in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are based on either measures of physical growth or proxy measures such as poverty. In this paper we aim to directly estimate the number of children in LMICs who would be reported by their caregivers to show low cognitive and/or socioemotional development.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Childhood, Child, Child development


The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children’s developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children’s developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children’s gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children’s infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: The Age, Infant, Developmental psychology, Child development, Adult, Human development, Puberty, Child