This preregistered study examined whether child temperament and executive functions moderated the longitudinal association between early life stress (ELS) and behavior problems. In a Dutch population-based cohort (n = 2803), parents reported on multiple stressors (age 0–6 years), child temperament (age 5), and executive functions (age 4), and teachers rated child internalizing and externalizing problems (age 7). Results showed that greater ELS was related to higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems, with betas reflecting small effects. Lower surgency buffered the positive association of ELS with externalizing problems, while better shifting capacities weakened the positive association between ELS and internalizing problems. Other child characteristics did not act as moderators. Findings underscore the importance of examining multiple protective factors simultaneously.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Youth and Families. This study was supported by the Erasmus Initiatives “Vital Cities and Citizens” of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (grant number 14000000.005). Stephen A. Metcalf was supported by an open research award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
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