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Effortful Control as a Temperamental Trait in Children and Adolescents

Title: Effortful Control as a Temperamental Trait in Children and Adolescents: Construct Validation and Relation to Symptoms of Psychopathology.
Name(s): Phillips, Beth Michelle, author
Taylor, Jeanette, professor directing dissertation
Goldstein, Howard, outside committee member
Joiner, Thomas, committee member
Loney, Bryan, committee member
Wagner, Richard, committee member
Department of Psychology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2003
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Recent decades have seen a surge of interest in models of personality, temperament, and affect, particularly in relation to the development of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. A prominent model includes factors of Negative (NA) and Positive Affect (PA) to explain the overlap of anxiety and depression. NA and PA overlap with reactive temperament as putative contributors to symptom development. Similarly, the construct of effortful and attentional control (EC), distinct from impulsivity, has emerged as a temperament factor that theoretically moderates the influence of the reactive traits. This study was designed to investigate relations between reactive and effortful temperament and symptoms of psychopathology in youth. This study also explored relations among measures of executive functioning (EF) and their links with temperament and psychopathology. Participants included 446 students ages 11 to 18 years (M = 14.31, SD = 1.75). These students completed five instruments measuring NA, PA, EC, and Impulsivity, plus seven instruments measuring anxiety, depression, and externalizing problems. Further, 150 participants stratified by grade and sex completed three EF tasks. These measures, hypothesized to overlap with EC, theoretically tapped abilities to inhibit, plan, and direct attention and behavior. Bivariate correlations, principal components, and confirmatory factor analyses aided the development of temperament and symptom models and investigation of the relations among factors. Structural equation models explored relations between temperament and symptoms. Analyses also evaluated relations between EF tasks and their relations with temperament and symptoms. Results indicated that NA was significantly related to EC, Impulsivity, and all forms of symptomatology, and was unrelated to PA, which was primarily related to symptoms of depression, and also related to EC and impulsivity. In some, but not all analytic models, EC was related to all forms of symptomatology, and was related to but distinct from Impulsivity. All three symptom types were highly interrelated. Surprisingly, Impulsivity was not uniquely related to externalizing problems. Despite previous findings and conceptual overlap, the EF tasks were unrelated to all other constructs and only two tasks were significantly correlated. Results support temperament contributions to children's symptom expression but indicate that construct refinement is needed in the temperament and EF domains.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-0950 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2003.
Date of Defense: Date of Defense: August 1, 2003.
Keywords: Construct Validation and Relation to Symptoms of P
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Jeanette Taylor, Professor Directing Dissertation; Howard Goldstein, Outside Committee Member; Thomas Joiner, Committee Member; Bryan Loney, Committee Member; Richard Wagner, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Phillips, B. M. (2003). Effortful Control as a Temperamental Trait in Children and Adolescents: Construct Validation and Relation to Symptoms of Psychopathology. Retrieved from