Effect 1

The aim of this longitudinal project is to study quality of early family environment in the development of cognitive self-regulation (Executive Functions; EF). A second aim is to uniquely integrate the studied social and cognitive aspects of a child`s development as possible predictors of early behavioral problems. The family environment will be broadly assessed through observations and questionnaires including attachment quality, parental sensitivity, scaffolding, level of family chaos/stress. Quality of early family environment will be developmentally linked in short and longer term developmental studies to broad aspects of EF and later common behavioral problems. From an applied perspective, such linkages may enable more accurate prediction of risk for, as well as more accurate intervention targets mitigating, problem behaviors. Finally, the longitudinal design will allow for the theoretically important data, mapping the early developmental sequence of EF and will provide critical cues to the underlying structure of EF development.

Years active: 2013-2019

Care

The aim of this project is to investigate how aspects of the family environment (attachment quality), temperament and self-regulatory ability (affective and cognitive) contribute to ADHD symptoms in children with and without a diagnosis aged 8-12 years. The CARE study is a sister study to EFFECT-1 with the aim of exploring the role of the family environment in the development of self-regulation and later behavioral problems in typically developed children aged 10 months-6 years (current situation). The advantage of examining these issues in two separate samples that differ in terms of both age (infancy-early school age, middle childhood) and type (clinical and non-clinical) is that we have the unique opportunity to study whether relationships (interactive and independent ) between constitutional factors (eg temperament) and environmental factors (parent-child relationship) and ADHD symptoms  correspond or differ depending on age and degree of problem (diagnosis or dimensional) . This can increase knowledge about how different environmental factors and self-regulation ability contribute to the development of ADHD, which in turn can lead to the development of targeted intervention methods for different children with ADHD.

Years active: 2016-2020

Effect 2

Why do some people succeed in school and later in life and others do not? Recent studies show very clearly that it is not primarily about social intelligence, physical health, IQ or talent. Instead, it is about “grit” - the ability to stick with future goals and work really hard to get there. From a psychological perspective “grit” is dependent on the ability for self-regulation (SR; the deliberate top-down control of thought, emotion and action), which is my area of expertise. Indeed, SR is the leading predictor, beyond gender, SES, and IQ, of academic achievement, occupational success and health. On the other hand, poor SR is paramount to child and adult psychopathology, particularly attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Shockingly, however, we know little scientifically about the developmental mechanisms that drives the formation of individual differences in SR. 

The purpose of this project is to characterize childhood developmental mechanisms of typical and atypical SR-development and the contributing role of environmental and genetic factors using a cutting-edge multidisciplinary approach. The project involves 3 studies incorporating longitudinal as well as cross-sectional designs in normative- and cohorts at high risk for ADHD spanning infancy, early- and middle childhood. This project has both strong scientific and societal value as it will inform theories of the mechanisms behind childhood SR-development and in turn guide prevention and intervention efforts.

Years active: 2021-2024

Last modified: 2021-11-23