Jelena is a professor at Stanford University in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She completed a Ph.D. in developmental psychology at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, and postdoctoral training in psychophysiology at the University of British Columbia. She is the recipient of a Jacobs Foundation Advanced Research Fellowship, a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award, and Early Career Research Contribution Award from the Society for Research in Child Development. Jelena’s research examines how the interplay of children’s physiological stress arousal, self-regulatory skills, and quality of caregiving environments contributes to their health, learning, and well-being over time. She also studies how caregivers’ executive functions and emotion regulation skills contribute to teaching and parenting practices that promote or undermine child development. Her current work involves the development of novel, pragmatic, scalable assessments of executive functions, emotion regulation, and motivation.

Administrative Appointments

  • Professor, Developmental and Psychological Sciences, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2023 - Present)
  • Director and PI, Stanford Project on Adaptation and Resilience in Kids (SPARK) (2009 - Present)
  • Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of British Columbia, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) (2007 - 2009)

Honors & Awards

  • Advanced Research Fellowship, Jacobs Foundation (2018-2020)
  • Early Career Research Contribution Award, Society for Research in Child Development (2013)
  • Scholar Award, William T. Grant Foundation (2012-2017)
  • Global Academy Member, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2009-2014)
  • Global Scholar, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2009-2011)
  • Young Scholar, Jacobs Foundation Conference, Marbach, Germany (2009)
  • Member, Interdisciplinary Resilience Research Network (2006-2007)
  • Predoctoral Training Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health (2006-2007)
  • CEHD Research Award, University of Minnesota (2004-2006)
  • Hauge Fellowship, University of Minnesota (2004-2005)
  • Eva O. Miller Fellowship, University of Minnesota (2003-2004)
  • Global Supplementary Grant, Open Society Institute (2002-2003)
  • Marian Radke Yarrow Fellowship, University of Minnesota (2002-2003)
  • Rena Ratte Award (highest honor to one graduating senior), Lewis and Clark College (2002)
  • Robert B. Pamplin Fellowship and Honor Society, Lewis and Clark College (1999-2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Steering Committee Member, Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis (2017 - Present)
  • Advisory Board Member, Stanford’s Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions (2017 - Present)
  • Advisory Board Member, John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities (2017 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Developmental Psychology, minor in Statistics (2007)
  • M.A., Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Developmental Psychology (2005)
  • B.A., Lewis & Clark College, Psychology (2002)

Research Interests

  • Assessment, Testing and Measurement
  • Brain and Learning Sciences
  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood
  • Equity in Education
  • Motivation
  • Parents and Family Issues
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Psychology
  • Social and Emotional Learning

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

The Stanford Project on Adaptation and Resilience in Kids — the SPARK Lab — seeks to understand how adversity influences children's adaptation across various domains of functioning, ranging from school engagement and academic competence to positive peer relationships and prosocial behaviors. We strive to identify the biological, behavioral, and environmental processes that enable some disadvantaged children to demonstrate remarkable resilience, while placing others at risk for maladaptive outcomes, such as symptoms of anxiety and depression or disruptive behaviors.

We study how the interplay between children's biological sensitivity and the quality of the environments in which they grow and learn shapes children's health and well-being. In addition, we study how self-regulatory skills help children cope with daily challenges by enabling them to control their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Our work aims to identify how families and teachers can help children with differing biological reactivity profiles and self-regulatory capacities succeed over time.

Our research has important implications for children who come from diverse family, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds. We hope to apply our research findings to the design and implementation of prevention and intervention programs aimed at improving children's lives.


  • AMES: Assessment of Motivation, Effort, and Self-regulation

    Our lab has created an iPad app — the Assessment of Motivation, Effort, and Self-regulation (AMES) — which uses five brief games to measure intrapersonal SEL skills, including persistence, challenge preference, delay of gratification, and executive functions (EFs). We are using AMES to study how these skills change over time and how they support learning in diverse groups of children. This work is funded by Technology for Equity in Learning Opportunities at Stanford (TELOS), the Spencer Foundation, and an SRCD-Jacobs Foundation initiative, Development in the Digital Age.


    Stanford, CA

  • Classroom Practices and School Readiness Skills

    In partnership with the SFUSD Early Education Department, we are examining how different aspects of the Pre-K classroom experience uniquely relate to the growth of children’s academic, social, and emotional learning skills, and whether these associations vary by children’s ethnic background, language proficiency, or initial skill levels. Further, we are evaluating the effects of a new social and emotional curriculum in 25 transitional kindergarten (T-K) classrooms. This research is supported by an SFUSD-Stanford Partnership grant.


    San Francisco, CA

  • Stress Physiology and Self-regulation in Children

    We are studying how the dynamic interplay between children’s physiological arousal, self-regulatory skills, and the quality of caregiving environments relates to children’s health, learning, and well-being over time. This work points toward the possibility of harnessing stress physiology to promote resilience in at-risk children (Obradović, 2016). Thus, we are testing whether brief interventions can change young children’s physiological responses to emotional and cognitive challenges. This work was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and it is currently funded by the Jacobs Foundation.


    Stanford, CA

  • STAR Project: School Transition and Readiness in Rural Pakistan

    With Dr. Aisha Yousafzai and a research team at Aga Khan University, in Karachi, Pakistan, we are studying how an early parenting intervention, family processes, and antecedent development relate to emergent executive functions (EFs) and related school readiness skills in disadvantaged preschoolers. Our goal is to further the understand of early childhood development in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) where children face high levels of adversity, including infections, malnutrition, and inadequate stimulation. This work was funded by the Grand Challenges Canada, Saving Brains Program.


    Karachi, Pakistan

  • PLUS Project: Promoting Learning, Understanding Self-regulation

    We studied executive functions (EFs) in upper elementary school grades, an age when students are expected to manage their own classroom behaviors with less direct input from teachers and when peer influences become more salient. We showed that EF skills are uniquely related to both adaptive classroom behaviors and academic achievement, over and above related, but conceptually distinct skills. We identifed how specific aspects of the classroom context relate to changes in EF skills across an academic school year. This work was funded by a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation.


    Stanford, CA

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Academic Motivation and Self-Regulated Classroom Behaviors in Middle Childhood: Moderation by Parental Education JOURNAL OF CHILD AND FAMILY STUDIES Finch, J. E., Saavedra, A., Obradovic, J. 2023
  • Cortisol response marks biological sensitivity to kindergartners' social hierarchies for emerging school engagement. Developmental psychobiology Armstrong-Carter, E., Bush, N. R., Boyce, W. T., Obradovic, J. 2023; 65 (2): e22373


    This longitudinal study investigated how kindergartners' position in the classroom social hierarchy and cortisol response relate to their change in school engagement across the first year of kindergarten (N=332, M=5.3 years, 51% boys, 41% White, 18% Black). We used naturalistic classroom observations of social hierarchy positions, laboratory-based challenges to elicit salivary cortisol response, and teacher, parent, and child reports of emotional engagement with school. Robust, clustered regression models revealed that in the fall, lower cortisol response (but not social hierarchy position) was associated with greater school engagement. However, by spring, significant interactions emerged. Highly reactive, subordinate children showed increases in school engagement from fall to spring of the kindergarten year, whereas highly reactive, dominant children showed decreases in school engagement. This is some of the first evidence that higher cortisol response marks biological sensitivity to early peer-based social contexts.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.22373

    View details for PubMedID 36811375

  • Impacts of two public preschool programs on school readiness in San Francisco EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY Sulik, M. J., Townley-Flores, C., Steyer, L., Obradovic, J. 2023; 62: 194-205
  • Publishing child development research from around the world: An unfair playing field resulting in most of the world's child population under-represented in research INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT Draper, C. E., Barnett, L. M., Cook, C. J., Cuartas, J. A., Howard, S. J., McCoy, D. C., Merkley, R., Molano, A., Maldonado-Carreno, C., Obradovic, J., Scerif, G., Valentini, N. C., Venetsanou, F., Yousafzai, A. K. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1002/icd.2375

    View details for Web of Science ID 000865643000001

  • Pakistani Preschoolers' Number of Older Siblings and Cognitive Skills: Moderations by Home Stimulation and Gender JOURNAL OF FAMILY PSYCHOLOGY Rathore, M., Armstrong-Carter, E., Siyal, S., Yousafzai, A. K., Obradovio, J. 2022


    The present study examines the link between children's number of older siblings and their cognitive development, as measured by executive function (EFs) skills and verbal skills (VIQ) in a sample of 1,302 4-year-old children (54% boys) living in rural Pakistan. Specifically, we investigate whether the links between the number of older siblings and preschoolers' EFs and VIQ are moderated by preschoolers' quality of home stimulation and gender. Multivariate regressions revealed that the number of older siblings was positively associated with EFs for boys in homes with both higher and lower levels of stimulation, and for girls in homes with lower levels of stimulation (p < .05). However, the number of older siblings was negatively associated with EFs for girls from homes with higher levels of stimulation (p = .03). Further, the number of older siblings was positively associated with VIQ in homes with lower stimulation (p < .05), but not for higher stimulation homes. Gender was not a statistically significant moderator of the association between the number of older siblings and VIQ. Findings suggest that living with more older siblings may promote emerging EFs and VIQ among boys and girls with fewer opportunities for cognitive stimulation. However, more older siblings may hinder EF development for girls in the context of adequate home stimulation, perhaps due to inequitable allocation of resources among boys and girls in more affluent, larger families. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/fam0001018

    View details for Web of Science ID 000832671200001

    View details for PubMedID 35913843

  • Interplay of motivational beliefs and self-regulation with achievement across economic risk JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Townley-Flores, C., Sulik, M. J., Bardack, S., Obradovic, J. 2022; 82
  • Directly assessed and adult-reported executive functions: Associations with academic skills in Ghana JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Ahmed, I., Steyer, L., Suntheimer, N. M., Wolf, S., Obradovic, J. 2022; 81
  • Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off? Not So Fast: Marginal Changes in Speed Have Inconsistent Relationships With Accuracy in Real-World Settings JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL STATISTICS Domingue, B. W., Kanopka, K., Stenhaug, B., Sulik, M. J., Beverly, T., Brinkhuis, M., Circi, R., Faul, J., Liao, D., McCandliss, B., Obradovic, J., Piech, C., Porter, T., Soland, J., Weeks, J., Wise, S. L., Yeatman, J., Project ILEAD Consortium 2022
  • The unique relevance of executive functions and self-regulation behaviors for understanding early childhood experiences and Preschoolers' outcomes in rural Pakistan. Developmental science Obradovic, J., Finch, J. E., Connolly, C., Siyal, S., Yousafzai, A. K. 2022: e13271


    Performance-based measures of children's executive functions (EFs) do not capture children's application of these skills during everyday emotionally-laden and socially-mediated interactions. The current study demonstrates the value of using assessor report of self-regulation behaviors (inhibitory control and positive affect/engagement) in addition to EF tasks when studying early childhood experiences and development in a rural lower-middle income country setting. In a sample of 1302 disadvantaged four-year-olds living in rural Pakistan, we found that directly assessed EFs were significantly related to assessor observations of children's inhibitory control and positive affect/engagement during a structured assessment protocol. However, EFs and two types of self-regulation behaviors demonstrated unique associations with children's (1) contextual experiences, as indexed by family socio-economic resources, participation in parenting interventions, and children's physical growth; and (2) age-salient developmental outcomes, as indexed by direct assessment of pre-academic skills and maternal report of prosocial behaviors and behavior problems. First, family wealth uniquely predicted only observed positive affect/engagement, whereas maternal education uniquely predicted only EFs. Second, children's antecedent linear growth was a significant predictor of both EFs and positive affect/engagement, but exposure to an enhanced nutrition intervention during the first two years of life and preschoolers' hair cortisol concentration were associated only with observed self-regulation behaviors. Finally, both EFs and observed positive affect/engagement uniquely predicted children's pre-academic skills. In contrast, only assessors' ratings of positive affect/engagement uniquely predicted maternal report of prosocial behaviors and only assessors' ratings of inhibitory control uniquely predicted maternal report of behavioral problems. Direct assessment of executive function skills was significantly related to assessor observations of young children's inhibitory control and self-regulation of positive affect and engagement. Children's antecedent linear growth was linked to both executive function skills and positive affect/engagement, whereas family wealth and nutrition intervention uniquely predicted only observed self-regulation. Higher levels of hair cortisol concentrations were related to greater levels of inhibitory control and positive affect/engagement in preschool girls, controlling for contextual covariates. Executive function skills and positive affect/engagement uniquely predicted preschoolers' pre-academic skills, but only assessors' observations uniquely predicted maternal report of prosocial behaviors and behavioral problems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.13271

    View details for PubMedID 35561073

  • Universal Screening of Hunger, Tiredness, and Sickness: Implications for Kindergarten Readiness and Racial/Ethnic Disparities EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT Steyer, L., Townley-Flores, C., Sulik, M. J., Obradovic, J. 2022
  • Executive Function Mediates the Association Between Cumulative Risk and Learning in Ghanaian Schoolchildren DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Suntheimer, N. M., Wolf, S., Sulik, M. J., Avornyo, E., Obradovic, J. 2022


    Research on the associations among adversity, executive function (EF), and academic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries, where developmental risk factors are more prevalent and impoverished environments are more widespread than in high income countries, is sparse. This study examines the relations among cumulative risk, EF, and learning outcomes measured 2-years later in Ghanaian third- and fourth-graders (N = 371; 49% female), shedding light on underlying mechanisms of how risk can undermine learning. A cumulative risk index was created based on a set of four child-reported risk factors: home aggression, unsafe home neighborhood, hunger, and having worked for pay. Cumulative risk and EF were negatively correlated. Learning outcomes (literacy and math test scores) were negatively correlated with earlier measures of cumulative risk and positively correlated with earlier measures of EF. EF mediated the association between cumulative risk and later learning outcomes, accounting for 65.3% of the total effect for literacy and 100% for math. This mediated pathway was robust to controls for child and household sociodemographic characteristics. The findings contribute to a small evidence base on the mediating role of EF in linking adversity and learning outcomes in a global context. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/dev0001372

    View details for Web of Science ID 000783958900001

    View details for PubMedID 35446075

  • Widely used measures of classroom quality are largely unrelated to preschool skill development Early Childhood Research Quarterly McDoniel, M. E., Townley-Flores, C., Sulik, M. J., Obradović, J. 2022; 59 (2nd Quarter): 243-253
  • Learning to Let Go: Parental Over-Engagement Predicts Poorer Self-Regulation in Kindergartners JOURNAL OF FAMILY PSYCHOLOGY Obradovic, J., Sulik, M. J., Shaffer, A. 2021; 35 (8): 1160-1170


    Responsive parenting and parental scaffolding have been shown to foster executive functions (EFs) and self-regulation skills in young children, but could too much parental directive engagement be counterproductive? To answer this question, we examined parental responses when children were demonstrating active on-task behaviors in a community sample of 102 dyads. We measured the time that parents spend actively guiding children's behavior relative to following the child's lead and created a measure of parental over-engagement to index the degree of active parental engagement via positive control/scaffolding behaviors. We hypothesized that parental over-engagement would negatively relate to children's self-regulation and EF skills because it creates fewer opportunities for children to practice self-regulation by leading dyadic interaction with their parents. We used an innovative State-Space Grid method to capture second-to-second changes in parental and child behaviors during a set of structured tasks. We examined the conceptual overlap of over-engagement with the global ratings of parenting, revealing that parental over-engagement was negatively correlated with global ratings of parental scaffolding and unrelated to global ratings of parental sensitivity. Next, we showed that parental over-engagement predicted lower levels of child hot EFs and observed self-regulation, controlling for age, parent education, family income, and global ratings of parenting. The predictive validity of over-engagement was unique to times when the child was actively engaged and was absent when the child was passively engaged. This study contributes to the discussion of how parents can support the development of self-regulation during the transition to elementary school. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/fam0000838

    View details for Web of Science ID 000725825400016

    View details for PubMedID 33705178

  • Taking a few deep breaths significantly reduces children's physiological arousal in everyday settings: Results of a preregistered video intervention. Developmental psychobiology Obradovic, J., Sulik, M. J., Armstrong-Carter, E. 2021; 63 (8): e22214


    This preregistered, randomized field experiment tested the effectiveness of a brief deep breathing intervention on children's concurrent physiological arousal in naturalistic settings (N=342; Mage =7.48 years; 46% female; 53% Asian, 26% White; 21% other race/ethnicity). The treatment consisted of an animated video that introduced deep breathing as a self-regulation strategy and scaffolded the child in taking a few slow-paced breaths, while the control group watched an informational video featuring similar animated images. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and heart rate (HR) were measured while children were sitting still (baseline) and subsequently while watching 1-min videos. Relative to baseline arousal, RSA increased and HR decreased only in response to the deep-breathing treatment video. Effects were larger in the second 30-s epoch of the video, which included most of the deep breathing practice. RSA fully mediated the intervention's effects on HR. By analyzing all children exposed to intervention video regardless of their engagement in the deep breathing practice (intention-to-treat design) and by using easily scalable treatment videos, the study identifies an effective and pragmatic approach to reducing children's physiological arousal in everyday, group settings. Implications for advancing applied developmental psychophysiological research are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.22214

    View details for PubMedID 34813098

  • Parent-child physiological synchrony: Concurrent and lagged effects during dyadic laboratory interaction. Developmental psychobiology Armstrong-Carter, E., Miller, J. G., Obradovic, J. 2021; 63 (7): e22196


    This study investigated whether parents and kindergarten children show concurrent and time-lagged physiological synchrony during dyadic interaction. Further, we tested whether parent-child behavioral co-regulation was associated with concurrent and time-lagged synchrony, and whether synchrony varied by the type of interaction task. Participants were 94 children (Mage =5.6 years, 56% female) and their parents. We simultaneously measured parent and child respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during four dyadic interaction tasks: free play, clean up, problem-solving, and puzzle teaching. We found that synchrony varied by task. Concurrent synchrony occurred only during the puzzle teaching task, such that parent and child RSA were significantly and positively associated with each other simultaneously. Time-lagged synchrony occurred only during the problem-solving task, such that parent RSA was positively associated with child RSA 30 seconds later, and child RSA was negatively associated with parent RSA 30 seconds later. Although behavioral co-regulation and physiological synchrony have been conceptualized as markers of responsive parent-child interactions, our study finds no evidence that physiological synchrony is associated with between-dyad differences in behavioral co-regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.22196

    View details for PubMedID 34674249

  • Early and concurrent home stimulation: Unique and indirect links with fine motor skills among 4-year-old children in rural Pakistan. Developmental psychology Armstrong-Carter, E., Sulik, M. J., Siyal, S., Yousafzai, A. K., Obradovic, J. 2021; 57 (6): 888-899


    Fine motor skills enable children to make precise and coordinated movements with their hands and support their ability to engage in everyday activities and learning experiences. In a longitudinal study of 1,058 4-year-old children in rural Pakistan (n = 488 girls), we examined how prior and concurrent levels of home stimulation relate to change in fine motor skills from ages 2 to 4 while controlling for family wealth, maternal education, number of siblings at birth, prior and concurrent measures of children's physical growth and food insecurity, and prior motor skills at age 2. Moreover, we tested whether the association between early home stimulation and subsequent fine motor skills was mediated by physical growth, food insecurity, motor skills at age 2, and concurrent home stimulation. Results revealed that home stimulation at 18 months was positively associated with change in fine motor skills from ages 2 to 4, over and above family socioeconomic resources. This association was mediated by physical growth, food insecurity and motor skills at age 2. In contrast to home stimulation at 18 months, home stimulation at age 4 was positively associated with concurrent motor skills at age 4 when controlling for all antecedent family factors, as well as prior and concurrent measures of physical growth and food insecurity, and prior motor skills at age 2. Findings suggest that the preschool period may be an important window of time when physically and cognitively stimulating experiences at home uniquely relate to variability in fine motor development. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/dev0001185

    View details for PubMedID 34424007

  • Evaluating motor performance with the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of motor proficiency in impoverished Pakistani children. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association Hasan, Z. H., Shaheen, F., Rizvi, A., Obradovic, J., Yousafzai, A. K. 2021; 71 (6): 1556-1560


    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the sensitivity of the modified Brief Form of Bruininks Oseretsky Test in identifying motor differences secondary to malnutrition and poverty.METHODS: This longitudinal cohort study was conducted at Nowshero Feroze, Sindh from 2013 to 2014 and comprised data drawn from children who participated in a randomised controlled trial, that assessed responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions in the first two years of life. Outcome measures included motor development assessed using Brief Form of Bruininks Oseretsky Test, child anthropometry and household economic and demographic information. Data was analysed using SPSS 15 and STATA 12.RESULTS: Of the 1058 children, 570(53%) were boys. Moderate-severe stunting was reported in 171(16.12%) subjects, while moderate-severe underweight was reported in 117(11.1%). Also, 591(56%) subjects belonged to poor families, 343(32%) had illiterate mothers, and 392(37%) were food-insecure. Malnutrition, socio-economic status and maternal literacy were significantly associated with a 6-item motor composite of the Brief Form of Bruininks Oseretsky Test (p<0.05).CONCLUSIONS: The 6-item motor composite of the Brief Form of Bruininks Oseretsky Test was found to be a reliable tool to measure motor performance in Pakistani pre-school children.

    View details for DOI 10.47391/JPMA.1111

    View details for PubMedID 34111071

  • Self-regulated behavior and parent-child co-regulation are associated with young children's physiological response to receiving critical adult feedback SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Armstrong-Carter, E., Sulik, M. J., Obradovic, J. 2020

    View details for DOI 10.1111/sode.12498

    View details for Web of Science ID 000599077100001

  • Addressing educational inequalities and promoting learning through studies of stress physiology in elementary school students. Development and psychopathology Obradovic, J., Armstrong-Carter, E. 2020; 32 (5): 1899–1913


    To be ready to learn, children need to be focused, engaged, and able to bounce back from setbacks. However, many children come to school with heightened or diminished physiological arousal due to exposure to poverty-related risks. While stress physiology plays a role in explaining how adversity relates to processes that support students' cognitive development, there is a lack of studies of physiological stress response in educational settings. This review integrates relevant studies and offers future directions for research on the role of stress physiology in the school adaptation of elementary school students, focusing on these important questions: (a) What are the links between physiological stress response and learning-related skills and behaviors, and do they vary as a function of proximal and distal experiences outside of school? (b) How are school experiences associated with students' physiological stress response and related cognitive and behavioral adaptations? (c) How can we leverage measures of students' physiological stress response in evaluations of school-based interventions to better support the school success of every student? We hope to stimulate a new wave of research that will advance the science of developmental stress physiology, as well as improve the application of these findings in educational policy and practice.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579420001443

    View details for PubMedID 33427176

  • Biological sensitivity to context in Pakistani preschoolers: Hair cortisol and family wealth are interactively associated with girls' cognitive skills. Developmental psychobiology Armstrong-Carter, E., Finch, J. E., Siyal, S., Yousafzai, A. K., Obradovic, J. 2020


    Many young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face heightened risk for experiencing environmental adversity, which is linked with poorer developmental outcomes. Children's stress physiology can shed light on why children are differentially susceptible to adversity. However, no known studies have examined whether links between adversity and children's development are moderated by children's stress physiology in LMICs. The present study revealed significant interactive effects of hair cortisol concentrations, an index of chronic physiological stress regulation, and family wealth on preschoolers' cognitive skills in rural Pakistan. In a sample of 535 4-year-old children (n=342 girls), we found significant associations between family wealth and direct assessments of verbal intelligence, pre-academic skills, and executive functions only in girls with lower hair cortisol concentrations. Specifically, girls with lower cortisol concentrations displayed greater cognitive skills if they came from relatively wealthier families, but lower cognitive skills if they came from very poor families. There were no significant associations among boys. Results provide evidence of biological sensitivity to context among young girls in a LMIC, perhaps reflecting, in part, sex differences in daily experiences of environmental adversity.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21981

    View details for PubMedID 32458442

  • Moving beyond executive functions: Challenge preference as a predictor of academic achievement in elementary school. Journal of experimental child psychology Sulik, M. J., Finch, J. E., Obradović, J. n. 2020; 198: 104883


    Intrinsic motivation and executive functions (EFs) have been independently studied as predictors of academic achievement in elementary school. The goal of this investigation was to understand how students' challenge preference (CP), an aspect of intrinsic motivation, is related to academic achievement while accounting for EFs as a confounding variable. Using data from a longitudinal study of 569 third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders (50% female), we tested students' self-reported CP as a predictor of mathematics and English language arts (ELA) achievement in multilevel models that controlled for school fixed effects and student demographic characteristics. CP was positively associated with mathematics and ELA over and above the set of covariates and EFs. While also controlling for prior achievement, CP continued to explain a small amount of unique variance in mathematics, but not in ELA. These results underscore the importance of including measures of students' intrinsic motivation, in addition to EFs, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of academic success.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104883

    View details for PubMedID 32640382

  • Studying Executive Function Skills in Young Children in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Progress and Directions CHILD DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES Obradovic, J., Willoughby, M. T. 2019; 13 (4): 227–34

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12349

    View details for Web of Science ID 000495803300005

  • Early executive functioning in a global context: Developmental continuity and family protective factors DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE Obradovic, J., Finch, J. E., Portilla, X. A., Rasheed, M. A., Tirado-Strayer, N., Yousafzai, A. K. 2019; 22 (5)

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12795

    View details for Web of Science ID 000483697700014

  • Teachers' Perceptions of Students' Executive Functions: Disparities by Gender, Ethnicity, and ELL Status JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Garcia, E. B., Sulik, M. J., Obradovic, J. 2019; 111 (5): 918–31

    View details for DOI 10.1037/edu0000308

    View details for Web of Science ID 000473023000010

  • Observing teachers' displays and scaffolding of executive functioning in the classroom context JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Bardack, S., Obradovic, J. 2019; 62: 205–19
  • Integration of DNA methylation patterns and genetic variation in human pediatric tissues help inform EWAS design and interpretation. Epigenetics & chromatin Islam, S. A., Goodman, S. J., MacIsaac, J. L., Obradovic, J., Barr, R. G., Boyce, W. T., Kobor, M. S. 2019; 12 (1): 1


    BACKGROUND: The widespread use of accessible peripheral tissues for epigenetic analyses has prompted increasing interest in the study of tissue-specific DNA methylation (DNAm) variation in human populations. To date, characterizations of inter-individual DNAm variability and DNAm concordance across tissues have been largely performed in adult tissues and therefore are limited in their relevance to DNAm profiles from pediatric samples. Given that DNAm patterns in early life undergo rapid changes and have been linked to a wide range of health outcomes and environmental exposures, direct investigations of tissue-specific DNAm variation in pediatric samples may help inform the design and interpretation of DNAm analyses from early life cohorts. In this study, we present a systematic comparison of genome-wide DNAm patterns between matched pediatric buccal epithelial cells (BECs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), two of the most widely used peripheral tissues in human epigenetic studies. Specifically, we assessed DNAm variability, cross-tissue DNAm concordance and genetic determinants of DNAm across two independent early life cohorts encompassing different ages.RESULTS: BECs had greater inter-individual DNAm variability compared to PBMCs and highly the variable CpGs are more likely to be positively correlated between the matched tissues compared to less variable CpGs. These sites were enriched for CpGs under genetic influence, suggesting that a substantial proportion of DNAm covariation between tissues can be attributed to genetic variation. Finally, we demonstrated the relevance of our findings to human epigenetic studies by categorizing CpGs from published DNAm association studies of pediatric BECs and peripheral blood.CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results highlight a number of important considerations and practical implications in the design and interpretation of EWAS analyses performed in pediatric peripheral tissues.

    View details for PubMedID 30602389

  • Introduction to special issue on global child development studies. Developmental science Jensen, S. K., Obradovic, J. n., Nelson, C. A. 2019: e12888


    The determination to provide children with the best possible conditions to thrive transcends cultures and borders. Historically, most child development research has taken place in high-income countries and represented mostly western, educated, industrialized, wealthy, and democratic population. Yet, over the last few decades the field of child development has undergone an exponential expansion into new cultural and geographical locations. Efforts to translate and test existing tools, and to introduce advanced methodologies such as eye-tracking, neuroimaging, and app-based technology to new contexts are occurring all over the world. With this special issue we aim to represent recent child development research across the globe. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12888

    View details for PubMedID 31323172

  • Maternal and paternal stimulation: Mediators of parenting intervention effects on preschoolers' development JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Jeong, J., Obradovic, J., Rasheed, M., McCoy, D., Fink, G., Yousafzai, A. K. 2019; 60: 105–18
  • Virtual reality’s effect on children’s inhibitory control, social compliance, and sharing Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology Bailey, J. O., Bailenson, J. N., Obradović, J., Aguiar, N. R. 2019; 64: 1-11
  • The effects of peers’ executive functions on students’ executive functions in middle childhood AERA Open Finch, J. E., Garcia, E., Sulik, M., Obradović, J. 2019; 5 (1): 1-14

    View details for DOI 10.1177/2332858419829438

  • Early Executive Functioning in a Global Context: Developmental Continuity and Family Protective Factors. Developmental science Obradovic, J., Finch, J. E., Portilla, X. A., Rasheed, M. A., Tirado-Strayer, N., Yousafzai, A. K. 2018: e12795


    This study extends the methodological and theoretical understanding of executive functions (EFs) in preschoolers from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). First, the authors describe a rigorous process of adapting and evaluating six EF tasks to produce a culturally and developmentally appropriate measure of emerging EFs in a large sample of at-risk children in rural Pakistan. Next, the authors identify critical developmental and family factors that relate to preschoolers' EFs over the first four years of life. Direct assessment of children's general cognitive skills at age two showed developmental continuity with EFs at age four, and these early cognitive skills mediated the effect of an antecedent parenting intervention on EFs as well as associations of targeted individual and family factors with EFs. Further, directly assessed maternal cognitive capacities and observed maternal scaffolding uniquely predicted EFs in preschoolers. This study is also the first to demonstrate a significant overlap between direct assessments of IQ and EFs in young children from LMIC. Children's general intelligence mediated the associations of EFs with antecedent physical growth and cognitive skills as well as concurrent family factors (maternal verbal intelligence, maternal scaffolding, and home stimulation). After controlling for shared variance between preschoolers' general intelligence and EFs, three factors emerged as unique predictors of EFs: exposure to an early parenting intervention, physical growth status at age two, and number of older siblings. The findings have important implications for the design of interventions that aim to improve EFs in young children in LMIC countries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for PubMedID 30585683

  • Teachers' rankings of children's executive functions: Validating a methodology for school-based data collection. Journal of experimental child psychology Sulik, M. J., Obradovic, J. 2018; 173: 136–54


    We developed a novel, vignette-based ranking procedure to simultaneously collect teacher-reported executive function (EF) data for all students in a classroom. This ranking measure is an improvement over existing Likert-type rating scales because it can be completed more quickly and with comparatively little effort by teachers. Data for this validation study were drawn from a large, school-based study of third, fourth, and fifth graders (N = 813 from 33 classrooms in eight schools) in which ranking data and direct assessments of EF were collected. Using a subsample of students for whom teachers' ratings of EF and school records data were also collected (N = 311), we demonstrated that teachers' rankings of EF showed high convergent validity with teachers' ratings of EF and that both teacher-reported measures showed similar convergent validity with direct assessments of EF and similar predictive validity with respect to students' scores on standardized English/language arts and math achievement tests. Using data from the larger sample (N = 813), we conducted a simulation study demonstrating that the impact of missing data on the association between the rankings and the direct assessments of EF is minimal. Based on these results, the ranking procedure is a methodological innovation that enables the collection of relatively high-quality teacher-reported EF data for all students in a classroom quickly and with minimal burden on teachers. This vignette-based assessment method could be adapted to other domains of non-academic skills. We discuss varied uses of the ranking method for researchers and practitioners.

    View details for PubMedID 29723753

  • Measuring and understanding social-emotional behaviors in preschoolers from rural Pakistan. PloS one Finch, J. E., Yousafzai, A. K., Rasheed, M., Obradovic, J. 2018; 13 (11): e0207807


    The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is widely-used to measure symptoms of common childhood behavioral problems that may lead to mental health difficulties. In a sample of 1,302 highly-disadvantaged mothers and their preschoolers, we evaluated the factor structure and reliability of the parent-report version of the SDQ in rural Pakistan. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested that the original structure of the SDQ was not appropriate for our data. We created conceptually- and empirically-coherent measures of children's externalizing behavior problems and prosocial skills. Child and family correlates of social-emotional behaviors were similar to those found in other countries, supporting the validity of our new composites. Girls and children with more siblings had fewer externalizing behavior problems and more prosocial behaviors at four years. Further, maternal depressive symptoms and food insecurity were uniquely linked to more externalizing behavior problems at four years. In contrast, maternal education, home environment quality, and social-emotional skills at two years were associated with more prosocial behaviors at four years.

    View details for PubMedID 30481197

  • Visual-Motor Integration, Executive Functions, and Academic Achievement: Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations in Late Elementary School EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT Sulik, M. J., Haft, S. L., Obradovic, J. 2018; 29 (7): 956–70
  • Executive Functions and Externalizing Symptoms: Common and Unique Associations. Journal of abnormal child psychology Sulik, M. J., Obradović, J. 2017; 45 (8): 1519-1522


    In discussing the four papers in this special issue, we provide our perspective on the authors' contributions and suggest directions for future research. First, we highlight the usefulness of the bi-factor model for investigating relations among specific aspects of executive functions (EFs) and externalizing symptoms. Next, we examine the role of EFs as a protective factor that can moderate the relation between risk factors - specifically, callous-unemotional behaviors - on externalizing symptoms. And finally, we address the contributions of innovative measurement approaches to understanding the relations between EFs and externalizing symptoms, using the state-space grid methodology as an example.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10802-017-0348-8

    View details for PubMedID 28990153

  • Maternal care mediates the effects of nutrition and responsive stimulation interventions on young children's growth. Child: care, health and development Brown, N., FINCH, J. E., Obradovic, J., Yousafzai, A. K. 2017; 43 (4): 577-587


    Undernutrition contributes to at least half the estimated six million annual childhood deaths worldwide. Furthermore, one in three children fails to meet their developmental potential because of risks including stunting, illness, under-stimulation, poor responsive interactions and maternal depressive symptoms. Our study investigates the role of caregiving processes on children's height-for-age at 2 and 4 years.The Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-up study assessed the longitudinal effectiveness of early nutrition and responsive stimulation interventions on growth and development at 4 years of age. In total, 1302 children were followed up from birth to 4 years. We leveraged path analyses to explore potential mediators of early intervention effects on children's height-for-age at 4 years, including maternal depressive symptoms, mother-child interaction quality, diarrhoeal illness and height-for-age at 2 years.Our final model had excellent model fit (comparative fix index = 0.999, Tucker-Lewis index = 0.998, root mean square error of approximation = 0.008) and showed that mother-child interaction quality mediated the effects of both enhanced nutrition and responsive stimulation interventions on height-for-age at 4 years via its longitudinal stability from 2 years of age (β = 0.016, p = 0.005; β = 0.048, p < 0.001, respectively). Further, diarrhoeal illness mediated the effects of maternal depressive symptoms at 1 year post partum on children's height-for-age at 4 years via the longitudinal stability of height-for-age z-score from 2 years of age onwards (β = -0.007, p = 0.019).The quality of early caregiving experience mediated the association between both interventions and height-for-age. The effect of maternal depressive symptoms on growth was mediated by diarrhoeal illness. Programmatic approaches to child nutrition and growth must address all these potentially modifiable factors.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cch.12466

    View details for PubMedID 28480514

  • Gamma power in rural Pakistani children: Links to executive function and verbal ability. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Tarullo, A. R., Obradovic, J., Keehn, B., Rasheed, M. A., Siyal, S., Nelson, C. A., Yousafzai, A. K. 2017; 26: 1-8


    Children in low- and middle-income countries are at high risk of cognitive deficits due to environmental deprivation that compromises brain development. Despite the high prevalence of unrealized cognitive potential, very little is known about neural correlates of cognition in this population. We assessed resting EEG power and cognitive ability in 105 highly disadvantaged 48-month-old children in rural Pakistan. An increase in EEG power in gamma frequency bands (21-30Hz and 31-45Hz) was associated with better executive function. For girls, EEG gamma power also related to higher verbal IQ. This study identifies EEG gamma power as a neural marker of cognitive function in disadvantaged children in low- and middle-income countries. Elevated gamma power may be a particularly important protective factor for girls, who may experience greater deprivation due to gender inequality.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.03.007

    View details for PubMedID 28436831

  • Unique Contributions of Dynamic Versus Global Measures of Parent-Child Interaction Quality in Predicting School Adjustment. Journal of family psychology Bardack, S., Herbers, J. E., Obradovic, J. 2017


    This study investigates the unique contribution of microsocial and global measures of parent-child positive coregulation (PCR) in predicting children's behavioral and social adjustment in school. Using a community sample of 102 children, ages 4-6, and their parents, we conducted nested path analytic models to identify the unique effects of 2 measures of PCR on school outcomes. Microsocial PCR independently predicted fewer externalizing and inattention/impulsive behaviors in school. Global PCR did not uniquely relate to children's behavioral and social adjustment outcomes. Household socioeconomic status was related to both microsocial and global measures of PCR, but not directly associated with school outcomes. Findings illustrate the importance of using dynamic measures of PCR based on microsocial coding to further understand how the quality of parent-child interaction is related to children's self-regulatory and social development during school transition. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/fam0000296

    View details for PubMedID 28277709

  • Maternal scaffolding in a disadvantaged global context: The influence of working memory and cognitive capacities. Journal of family psychology Obradovic, J., Portilla, X. A., Tirado-Strayer, N., Siyal, S., Rasheed, M. A., Yousafzai, A. K. 2017; 31 (2): 139-149


    The current study focuses on maternal cognitive capacities as determinants of parenting in a highly disadvantaged global context, where children's experiences at home are often the 1st and only opportunity for learning and intellectual growth. In a large sample of 1,291 biological mothers of preschool-aged children in rural Pakistan, we examined the unique association of maternal working memory skills (independent of related cognitive capacities) with cognitively stimulating parenting behaviors. Path analysis revealed that directly assessed working memory, short-term memory, and verbal intelligence independently predicted greater levels of observed maternal scaffolding behaviors. Mothers from poorer families demonstrated lower levels of working memory, short-term memory, and verbal intelligence. However, mothers' participation in an early childhood parenting intervention that ended 2 years prior to this study contributed to greater levels of working memory skills and verbal intelligence. Further, all 3 domains of maternal cognitive capacity mediated the effect of family economic resources on maternal scaffolding, and verbal intelligence also mediated the effect of early parenting intervention exposure on maternal scaffolding. The study demonstrates the unique relevance of maternal working memory for scaffolding behaviors that required continuously monitoring the child's engagement, providing assistance, and minimizing external distractions. These results highlight the importance of directly targeting maternal cognitive capacities in poor women with little or no formal education, using a 2-generation intervention approach that includes activities known to promote parental executive functioning and literacy. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/fam0000279

    View details for PubMedID 28068110

  • Unique contributions of emotion regulation and executive functions in predicting the quality of parent-child interaction behaviors. Journal of family psychology Shaffer, A., Obradovic, J. 2017; 31 (2): 150-159


    Parenting is a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral endeavor, yet limited research investigates parents' executive functions and emotion regulation as predictors of how parents interact with their children. The current study is a multimethod investigation of parental self-regulation in relation to the quality of parenting behavior and parent-child interactions in a diverse sample of parents and kindergarten-age children. Using path analyses, we tested how parent executive functions (inhibitory control) and lack of emotion regulation strategies uniquely relate to both sensitive/responsive behaviors and positive/collaborative behaviors during observed interaction tasks. In our analyses, we accounted for parent education, financial stress, and social support as socioeconomic factors that likely relate to parent executive function and emotion regulation skills. In a diverse sample of primary caregivers (N = 102), we found that direct assessment of parent inhibitory control was positively associated with sensitive/responsive behaviors, whereas parent self-reported difficulties in using emotion regulation strategies were associated with lower levels of positive and collaborative dyadic behaviors. Parent education and financial stress predicted inhibitory control, and social support predicted emotion regulation difficulties; parent education was also a significant predictor of sensitive/responsive behaviors. Greater inhibitory control skills and fewer difficulties identifying effective emotion regulation strategies were not significantly related in our final path model. We discuss our findings in the context of current and emerging parenting interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/fam0000269

    View details for PubMedID 27929314

  • Parenting Assessed by Observation versus Parent-report: Moderation by Parent Distress and Family Socioeconomic Status Journal of Child and Family Studies HerbersEmail , J. E., Garcia, E. B., Obradović, J. 2017; 26 (12): pp 3339–3350
  • Adversity and stress across the lifespan: Implications for the development of executive functions Lifespan Development and Plasticity of Executive Functions Finch, J. E., Obradović, J. edited by Wiebe, S., Karbach, J. Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis). 2017
  • Emotional Behavior Problems, Parent Emotion Socialization, and Gender as Determinants of Teacher–Child Closeness Early Education and Development Bardack, S., Obradović, J. 2017; 28 (5): 507-524
  • Adaptation of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-III and lessons learned for evaluating intelligence in a low income setting International Journal of School & Educational Psychology Rasheed, M. A., Pham, S., Memon, U., Siyal, S., Obradović, J., Yousafzai, A. K. 2017
  • Independent and compensatory contributions of executive functions and challenge preference for students' adaptive classroom behaviors Learning and Individual Differences Finch, J., Obradović, J. 2017; 55: 183-192
  • Assessing students' executive functions in the classroom: Validating a scalable group-based procedure Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology Obradović, J., Sulik, M. J., Finch, J. E., Tirado-Strayer, N. 2017
  • Unique effects of socioeconomic and emotional parental challenges on children’s executive functions Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology Finch, J. E., Obradović, J. 2017; 52: 126-137
  • Self-construal, family context, and the cortisol awakening response in first- and second-generation Asian American college students Emerging Adulthood Burt, K. B., Obradović, J., Leu, J. 2017; 6 (2): 104-117

    View details for DOI 10.1177/2167696817706039

  • Linking executive function skills and physiological challenge response: Piecewise growth curve modeling. Developmental science Obradovic, J., Finch, J. E. 2016


    This study employed piecewise growth curve modeling to examine how children's executive function (EF) skills relate to different components of children's physiological response trajectory - initial arousal, reactivity, and recovery. The sample included 102 ethnically diverse kindergarteners, whose EF skills were measured using standard tasks and observer ratings. Physiological response was measured via changes in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) in response to a laboratory socio-cognitive challenge. Children's cool and hot EF skills were differentially related to both linear and quadratic components of RSA response during the challenge. Greater hot EF skills and assessor report of EF skills during laboratory visit were related to quicker RSA recovery after the challenge. These findings demonstrate that children's physiological response is a dynamic process that encompasses physiological recovery and relates to children's self-regulation abilities.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12476

    View details for PubMedID 27748016

  • Maternal scaffolding and home stimulation: Key mediators of early intervention effects on children's cognitive development. Developmental psychology Obradovic, J., Yousafzai, A. K., Finch, J. E., Rasheed, M. A. 2016; 52 (9): 1409-1421


    This study contributes to the understanding of how early parenting interventions implemented in low- and middle-income countries during the first 2 years of children's lives are sustained longitudinally to promote cognitive skills in preschoolers. We employed path analytic procedures to examine 2 family processes-the quality of home stimulation and maternal scaffolding behaviors-as underlying mechanisms through which a responsive stimulation intervention uniquely predicted children's verbal intelligence, performance intelligence, and executive functioning. The sample included 1,302 highly disadvantaged children and their mothers living in rural Pakistan, who from birth participated in a 2-year, community-based, cluster-randomized, controlled trial designed to promote sensitive and responsive caregiving. Family processes were assessed at 2 developmental time points using parent reports, ratings of home environments, and observed parent-child interactions. Cognitive skills at age 4 were assessed using standardized tests. Controlling for socioeconomic risk (e.g., wealth, maternal education, food insecurity) and individual factors (e.g., gender, growth status), the quality of current home stimulation as well as both earlier and concurrent measures of maternal scaffolding independently mediated the intervention effects on cognitive skills at age 4. In addition, the intervention had a significant direct effect on executive functioning and performance intelligence over and above significant family processes and other covariates. We highlight implications for future program design and evaluation studies. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/dev0000182

    View details for PubMedID 27505702

  • Effects of responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions on children's development and growth at age 4 years in a disadvantaged population in Pakistan: a longitudinal follow-up of a cluster-randomised factorial effectiveness trial. The Lancet. Global health Yousafzai, A. K., Obradovic, J., Rasheed, M. A., Rizvi, A., Portilla, X. A., Tirado-Strayer, N., Siyal, S., Memon, U. 2016; 4 (8): e548-58


    A previous study in Pakistan assessed the effectiveness of delivering responsive stimulation and enhanced nutrition interventions to young children. Responsive stimulation significantly improved children's cognitive, language, and motor development at 2 years of age. Both interventions significantly improved parenting skills, with responsive stimulation showing larger effects. In this follow-up study, we investigated whether interventions had benefits on children's healthy development and care at 4 years of age.We implemented a follow-up study of the initial, community-based cluster-randomised effectiveness trial, which was conducted through the Lady Health Worker programme in Sindh, Pakistan. We re-enrolled 1302 mother-child dyads (87% of the 1489 dyads in the original enrolment) for assessment when the child was 4 years of age. The children were originally randomised in the following groups: nutrition education and multiple micronutrient powders (enhanced nutrition; n=311), responsive stimulation (n=345), combined responsive stimulation and enhanced nutrition (n=315), and routine health and nutrition services (control; n=331). The data collection team were masked to the allocated intervention. The original enrolment period included children born in the study area between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010, if they were up to 2·5 months old without signs of severe impairments. The primary endpoints for children were development and growth at 4 years of age. Interventions were given in monthly group sessions and in home visits. The primary endpoint for mothers was wellbeing and caregiving knowledge, practices, and skills when the child was 4 years of age. Analysis was by intention to treat. The original trial is registered with, number NCT00715936.1302 mother-child dyads were re-enrolled between Jan 1, 2013, and March 31, 2013, all of whom were followed up at 4 years of age. Children who received responsive stimulation (with or without enhanced nutrition) had significantly higher cognition, language, and motor skills at 4 years of age than children who did not receive responsive stimulation. For children who received responsive stimulation plus enhanced nutrition, effect sizes (Cohen's d) were 0·1 for IQ (mean difference from control 1·2, 95% CI -0·3 to 2·7), 0·3 for executive functioning (0·18, -0·07 to 0·29), 0·5 for pre-academic skills (7·53, 5·14 to 9·92) and 0·2 for pro-social behaviours (0·08, 0·03 to 0·13). For children who received responsive stimulation alone, effect sizes were 0·1 for IQ (mean difference with controls 1·7, -0·3 to 3·7), 0·3 for executive functioning (0·17, 0·07 to 0·27), 0·2 for pre-academic skills (3·86, 1·41 to 6·31), and 0·2 for pro-social behaviours (0·07, 0·02 to 0·12). Enhanced nutrition improved child motor development, with effect size of 0·2 for responsive stimulation plus enhanced nutrition (0·56, -0·03 to 1·15), and for enhanced nutrition alone (0·82, 0·18 to 1·46). Mothers who received responsive stimulation (with or without enhanced nutrition) had significantly better responsive caregiving behaviours at 4 years of child age than those who did not receive intervention. Effect size was 0·3 for responsive stimulation plus enhanced nutrition (1·95, 0·75 to 3·15) and 0·2 for responsive stimulation (2·01, 0·74 to 3·28). The caregiving environment had a medium effect size of 0·3 for all interventions (responsive stimulation plus enhanced nutrition 2·99, 1·50 to 4·48; responsive stimulation alone 2·82, 1·21 to 4·43; enhanced nutrition 3·52, 1·70 to 5·34).Responsive stimulation delivered in a community health service can improve child development and care, 2 years after the end of intervention. Future analyses of these data are needed to identify which children and families benefit more or less over time.Grand Challenges Canada.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30100-0

    View details for PubMedID 27342433

  • Academic resilience of immigrant youth in Greek schools: Personal and family resources EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Anagnostaki, L., Pavlopoulos, V., Obradovic, J., Masten, A., Motti-Stefanidi, F. 2016; 13 (3): 377-393
  • Biological Sensitivity to Family Income: Differential Effects on Early Executive Functioning CHILD DEVELOPMENT Obradovic, J., Portilla, X. A., Ballard, P. J. 2016; 87 (2): 374-384


    The study examined how the interplay between children's cortisol response and family income is related to executive function (EF) skills. The sample included one hundred and two 5- to 6-year-olds (64% minority). EF skills were measured using laboratory tasks and observer ratings. Physiological reactivity was assessed via cortisol response during a laboratory visit. A consistent, positive association between family income and EF skills emerged only for children who showed high cortisol response, a marker of biological sensitivity to context. In contrast, family income was not related to EF skills in children who displayed low cortisol response. Follow-up analyses revealed a disordinal interaction, suggesting that differential susceptibility can be detected at the level of basic cognitive and self-regulatory skills that support adaptive functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.12475

    View details for Web of Science ID 000373398500003

    View details for PubMedID 26709089

  • Physiological Responsivity and Executive Functioning: Implications for Adaptation and Resilience in Early Childhood CHILD DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES Obradovic, J. 2016; 10 (1): 65-70

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12164

    View details for Web of Science ID 000371097500011

  • Academic Risk and Resilience in the Context of Homelessness CHILD DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES Masten, A. S., Cutuli, J. J., Herbers, J. E., Hinz, E., Obradovic, J., Wenzel, A. J. 2014; 8 (4): 201-206

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12088

    View details for Web of Science ID 000344781900003

  • Academic Risk and Resilience in the Context of Homelessness. Child development perspectives Masten, A. S., Cutuli, J. J., Herbers, J. E., Hinz, E., Obradović, J., Wenzel, A. J. 2014; 8 (4): 201-206


    Family homelessness in the United States has increased over the past two decades, raising concerns about associated risks for child development. In this article, we describe a translational research program focused on academic risk and resilience in homeless and highly mobile children. We find that although these children share many risk factors with other disadvantaged children, they are higher on an underlying continuum of risk. Additionally, marked variability has been observed among children who experience homelessness, both in risk level and achievement, with many children manifesting resilience. We discuss implications for research and efforts to address disparities in achievement.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12088

    View details for PubMedID 29623104

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5882194

  • The symphonic structure of childhood stress reactivity: patterns of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and adrenocortical responses to psychological challenge. Development and psychopathology Quas, J. A., Yim, I. S., Oberlander, T. F., Nordstokke, D., Essex, M. J., Armstrong, J. M., Bush, N., Obradovic, J., Boyce, W. T. 2014; 26 (4): 963-982


    Despite widespread recognition that the physiological systems underlying stress reactivity are well coordinated at a neurobiological level, surprisingly little empirical attention has been given to delineating precisely how the systems actually interact with one another when confronted with stress. We examined cross-system response proclivities in anticipation of and following standardized laboratory challenges in 664 4- to 14-year-olds from four independent studies. In each study, measures of stress reactivity within both the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system (i.e., the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system) and the corticotrophin releasing hormone system (i.e., the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) were collected. Latent profile analyses revealed six distinctive patterns that recurred across the samples: moderate reactivity (average cross-system activation; 52%-80% of children across samples), parasympathetic-specific reactivity (2%-36%), anticipatory arousal (4%-9%), multisystem reactivity (7%-14%), hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis specific reactivity (6%-7%), and underarousal (0%-2%). Groups meaningfully differed in socioeconomic status, family adversity, and age. Results highlight the sample-level reliability of children's neuroendocrine responses to stress and suggest important cross-system regularities that are linked to development and prior experiences and may have implications for subsequent physical and mental morbidity.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579414000480

    View details for PubMedID 24909883

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4557735

  • An integrative view of school functioning: transactions between self-regulation, school engagement, and teacher-child relationship quality. Child development Portilla, X. A., Ballard, P. J., Adler, N. E., Boyce, W. T., Obradovic, J. 2014; 85 (5): 1915-1931


    This study investigates the dynamic interplay between teacher-child relationship quality and children's behaviors across kindergarten and first grade to predict academic competence in first grade. Using a sample of 338 ethnically diverse 5-year-old children, nested path analytic models were conducted to examine bidirectional pathways between children's behaviors and teacher-child relationship quality. Low self-regulation in kindergarten fall, as indexed by inattention and impulsive behaviors, predicted more conflict with teachers in kindergarten spring and this effect persisted into first grade. Conflict and low self-regulation jointly predicted decreases in school engagement which in turn predicted first-grade academic competence. Findings illustrate the importance of considering transactions between self-regulation, teacher-child relationship quality, and school engagement in predicting academic competence.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.12259

    View details for PubMedID 24916608

  • The Importance of Family and Friend Relationships for the Mental Health of Asian Immigrant Young Adults and Their Nonimmigrant Peers RESEARCH IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Obradovic, J., Tirado-Strayer, N., Leu, J. 2013; 10 (2): 163-183
  • The construct of psychophysiological reactivity: Statistical and psychometric issues DEVELOPMENTAL REVIEW Burt, K. B., Obradovic, J. 2013; 33 (1): 29-57
  • Multiple imputation of missing multilevel, longitudinal data: A case when practical considerations trump best practices? Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods Lloyd, J. E., Obradović, J., Carpiano, R. M., Motti-Stefanidi, F. 2013; 12 (1): 261-275
  • The role of physiological reactivity in understanding resilience processes in children’s development Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development Portilla, X. A., Obradović, J. edited by Tremblay, R. E., Boivin, M., Peters, R. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Childhood Development. 2013: 1–6
  • Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Boyce, W. T., Obradovic, J., Bush, N. R., Stamperdahl, J., Kim, Y. S., Adler, N. 2012; 109: 17168-17173


    Socioeconomic status (SES) is the single most potent determinant of health within human populations, from infancy through old age. Although the social stratification of health is nearly universal, there is persistent uncertainty regarding the dimensions of SES that effect such inequalities and thus little clarity about the principles of intervention by which inequalities might be abated. Guided by animal models of hierarchical organization and the health correlates of subordination, this prospective study examined the partitioning of children's adaptive behavioral development by their positions within kindergarten classroom hierarchies. A sample of 338 5-y-old children was recruited from 29 Berkeley, California public school classrooms. A naturalistic observational measure of social position, parent-reported family SES, and child-reported classroom climate were used in estimating multilevel, random-effects models of children's adaptive behavior at the end of the kindergarten year. Children occupying subordinate positions had significantly more maladaptive behavioral outcomes than their dominant peers. Further, interaction terms revealed that low family SES and female sex magnified, and teachers' child-centered pedagogical practices diminished, the adverse influences of social subordination. Taken together, results suggest that, even within early childhood groups, social stratification is associated with a partitioning of adaptive behavioral outcomes and that the character of larger societal and school structures in which such groups are nested can moderate rank-behavior associations.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1201730109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000310510500005

    View details for PubMedID 23045637

  • Family Assistance Attitudes and Family Cultural Conflict: A Comparative Study of Second-Generation Asian American and Native-Born European American Emerging Adults ASIAN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY Leu, J., Schroth, C., Obradovic, J., Cruz, R. A. 2012; 3 (3): 133-144

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0029636

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314777400002

  • How can the study of physiological reactivity contribute to our understanding of adversity and resilience processes in development? DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Obradovic, J. 2012; 24 (2): 371-387


    The focus of this article is to present current progress in understanding the interplay among adversity, physiological sensitivity to context, and adaptive functioning, with an emphasis on implications and future directions for resilience researchers. It includes a review of current literature that demonstrates (a) links between various levels of adversity exposure and variability in physiological reactivity, (b) how the interplay between children's physiological reactivity and different sources of risk and adversity relates to variability in adaptive functioning, and (c) various approaches for capturing a more dynamic nature of physiological reactivity and related processes. Throughout, important conceptual and empirical issues are highlighted.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579412000053

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302915900005

    View details for PubMedID 22559120

  • Adversity and risk in developmental psychopathology: Progress and future directions. The Cambridge Handbook of Environment in Human Development Obradović, J., Shaffer, A., Masten, A. S. edited by Mayes, L. C., Lewis, M. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 2012: 35–57
  • The role of stress reactivity for child development: Indices, correlates and future directions The Cambridge Handbook of Environment in Human Development Obradović, J., Boyce, W. T. edited by Mayes, L. C., Lewis, M. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 2012: 655–681
  • Executive functioning and developmental neuroscience: Current progress and implications for early childhood education The Handbook of Early Education Obradović, J., Portilla, X. A., Boyce, W. T. edited by Pianta, R. C., Justice, L., Barnett, S., Sheridan, S. New York, NY: Guilford Press. 2012: 324–351
  • Kindergarten stressors and cumulative adrenocortical activation: The "first straws" of allostatic load? DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Bush, N. R., Obradovic, J., Adler, N., Boyce, W. T. 2011; 23 (4): 1089-1106


    Using an ethnically diverse longitudinal sample of 338 kindergarten children, this study examined the effects of cumulative contextual stressors on children's developing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis regulation as an early life indicator of allostatic load. Chronic HPA axis regulation was assessed using cumulative, multiday measures of cortisol in both the fall and spring seasons of the kindergarten year. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that contextual stressors related to ethnic minority status, socioeconomic status, and family adversity each uniquely predicted children's daily HPA activity and that some of those associations were curvilinear in conformation. Results showed that the quadratic, U-shaped influences of family socioeconomic status and family adversity operate in different directions to predict children's HPA axis regulation. Results further suggested that these associations differ for White and ethnic minority children. In total, this study revealed that early childhood experiences contribute to shifts in one of the principal neurobiological systems thought to generate allostatic load, confirming the importance of early prevention and intervention efforts. Moreover, findings suggested that analyses of allostatic load and developmental theories accounting for its accrual would benefit from an inclusion of curvilinear associations in tested predictive models.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579411000514

    View details for Web of Science ID 000296606600008

    View details for PubMedID 22018083

  • Autonomic and Adrenocortical Reactivity and Buccal Cell Telomere Length in Kindergarten Children PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE Kroenke, C. H., Epel, E., Adler, N., Bush, N. R., Obradovic, J., Lin, J., Blackburn, E., Stamperdahl, J. L., Boyce, W. T. 2011; 73 (7): 533-540


    To examine associations between autonomic nervous system and adrenocortical reactivity to laboratory stressors and buccal cell telomere length (BTL) in children.The study sample comprised 78 children, aged 5 to 6 years, from a longitudinal cohort study of kindergarten social hierarchies, biologic responses to adversity, and child health. Buccal cell samples and reactivity measures were collected in the spring of the kindergarten year. BTL was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction, as the telomere-to-single-copy gene ratio. Parents provided demographic information; parents and teachers reported children's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Components of children's autonomic (heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA], and preejection period [PEP]) and adrenocortical (salivary cortisol) responses were monitored during standardized laboratory challenges. We examined relationships between reactivity, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and BTL, adjusted for age, race, and sex.Heart rate and cortisol reactivity were inversely related to BTL, PEP was positively related to BTL, and RSA was unrelated to BTL. Internalizing behaviors were also inversely related to BTL (standardized β = -0.33, p = .004). Split at the median of reactivity parameters, children with high sympathetic activation (decreasing PEP), and parasympathetic withdrawal (decreasing RSA) did not differ with regard to BTL. However, children with both this profile and high cortisol reactivity (n = 12) had significantly shorter BTL (0.80 versus 1.00; χ² = 7.6, p = .006), compared with other children.The combination of autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity was associated with shorter BTL in children. These data suggest that psychophysiological processes may influence, and that BTL may be a useful marker of, early biologic aging.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/PSY.0b013e318229acfc

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295122300003

    View details for PubMedID 21873585

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3212037

  • Differentiating challenge reactivity from psychomotor activity in studies of children's psychophysiology: Considerations for theory and measurement JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL CHILD PSYCHOLOGY Bush, N. R., Alkon, A., Obradovic, J., Starnperdahl, J., Boyce, W. T. 2011; 110 (1): 62-79


    Current methods of assessing children's physiological "stress reactivity" may be confounded by psychomotor activity, biasing estimates of the relation between reactivity and health. We examined the joint and independent contributions of psychomotor activity and challenge reactivity during a protocol for 5- and 6-year-old children (N = 338). Measures of parasympathetic reactivity (respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]) and sympathetic reactivity (preejection period [PEP]) were calculated for social, cognitive, sensory, and emotional challenge tasks. Reactivity was calculated relative to both resting and a paired comparison task that accounted for psychomotor activity effects during each challenge. Results indicated that comparison tasks themselves elicited RSA and PEP responses, and reactivity adjusted for psychomotor activity was incongruent with reactivity calculated using rest. Findings demonstrate the importance of accounting for confounding psychomotor activity effects on physiological reactivity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2011.03.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000292172900005

    View details for PubMedID 21524757

  • The interactive effect of marital conflict and stress reactivity on externalizing and internalizing symptoms: The role of laboratory stressors DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Obradovic, J., Bush, N. R., Boyce, W. T. 2011; 23 (1): 101-114


    Growing evidence supports the biological sensitivity to context theory, which posits that physiologically reactive children, as indexed by autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity to laboratory stressors, are more susceptible to both negative and positive environmental influences than their low reactive peers. High biological sensitivity is a risk factor for behavioral and health problems in the context of high adversity, whereas in contexts of low adversity it has been found to promote positive adaptation. However, several studies have shown the opposite effect, finding that children who exhibited high ANS reactivity in response to interpersonal stressors were buffered from the deleterious effects of marital conflict, whereas children who showed low ANS reactivity were more vulnerable to high levels of marital conflict. Using an ethnically diverse sample of 260 kindergartners (130 girls, 130 boys), the current study investigated whether the interaction effect of marital conflict and the two branches of ANS reactivity on children's externalizing and internalizing symptoms differs with the nature of the laboratory challenge task used to measure children's stress response. As hypothesized, results indicate that the interaction between ANS reactivity and marital conflict significantly predicted children's behavior problems, but the direction of the effect varied with the nature of the challenge task (i.e., interpersonal or cognitive). This study illustrates the importance of considering the effect of laboratory stimuli when assessing whether children's ANS reactivity moderates the effects of adversity exposure on adaptation.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579410000672

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286699900008

    View details for PubMedID 21262042

  • Direct and Indirect Effects of Parenting on the Academic Functioning of Young Homeless Children EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT Herbers, J. E., Cutuli, J. J., Lafavor, T. L., Vrieze, D., Leibel, C., Obradovic, J., Masten, A. S. 2011; 22 (1): 77-104
  • Transactional relations across contextual strain, parenting quality, and early childhood regulation and adaptation in a high-risk sample DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Yates, T. M., Obradovic, J., Egeland, B. 2010; 22 (3): 539-555


    This investigation examined transactional relations across contextual strain, parenting quality, and child adjustment in 209 mothers and children at 24, 42, and 72 months of age. Independent ratings of mothers' stressful life events, social support, and relationship quality provided an objective measure of maternal contextual strain. Observers evaluated parenting quality during parent-child interactions at each time point. Child regulatory functioning during laboratory tasks at 24 and 42 months was evaluated by independent observers based on both behavioral (e.g., noncompliance, distractibility) and emotional (e.g., frustration, anger) indices. At 72 months, teachers reported on children's externalizing behaviors, and children completed objective measures of academic achievement. Nested path analyses were used to evaluate increasingly complex models of influence, including transactional relations between child and parent, effects from contextual strain to parenting and child adaptation, and reciprocal effects from child and parent behavior to contextual strain. Over and above stability within each domain and cross-sectional cross-domain covariation, significant paths emerged from maternal contextual strain to subsequent child adjustment. Bidirectional relations between parenting and child adjustment were especially prominent among boys. These findings counter unidirectional models of parent-mediated contextual effects by highlighting the direct influences of contextual strain and parent-child transactions on early childhood behavioral and academic adjustment, respectively.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S095457941000026X

    View details for Web of Science ID 000279517900005

    View details for PubMedID 20576177

  • Psychopathology and social competence during the transition to adolescence: The role of family adversity and pubertal development DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Obradovic, J., Hipwell, A. 2010; 22 (3): 621-634


    This study examined developmental processes linking competence and psychopathology in an urban sample of girls during their transition to adolescence. Longitudinal associations among indices of externalizing symptoms, social competence, and internalizing symptoms were also tested within contexts of family adversity and girls' pubertal status. Child, parent, and teacher report were employed to assess core constructs across six annual assessment waves, starting at age 9. Results revealed the significant effect of prior levels of externalizing symptoms on changes in social competence and internalizing symptoms, as well as reciprocal relations between social competence and internalizing symptoms. In addition, girl's maladaptive functioning predicted increases in family adversity exposure over time. Last, more mature pubertal status in early assessment waves was linked to an increase in internalizing symptoms; however, this association was reversed by the last assessment, when most girls had reached advance stages of puberty. The timing of these effects reveals important targets for future interventions aimed at promoting the successful adaptation of girls in adolescence.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579410000325

    View details for Web of Science ID 000279517900011

    View details for PubMedID 20576183

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2892816

  • Effortful control and adaptive functioning of homeless children: Variable-focused and person-focused analyses JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Obradovic, J. 2010; 31 (2): 109-117


    Homeless children show significant developmental delays across major domains of adaptation, yet research on protective processes that may contribute to resilient adaptation in this highly disadvantaged group of children is extremely rare. This study examined the role of effortful control for adaption in 58 homeless children, ages 5-6, during their transition to school. Effortful control skills were assessed using children's performance on four standard executive functioning tasks. Adaptive functioning was assessed by teacher report of academic competence, peer competence, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Variable-focused and person-focused results indicate that effortful control may be an important marker of school readiness and resilience. Controlling for child IQ, parenting quality, and socio-demographic risks, effortful control emerged as the most significant predictor of all four salient developmental domains of adaptation as well as of resilient status of homeless children. Implications of these findings are discussed for future research and design of interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.appdev.2009.09.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000276090300001

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2853802

  • Effortful Control and Adaptive Functioning of Homeless Children: Variable- and Person-focused Analyses. Journal of applied developmental psychology Obradović, J. 2010; 31 (2): 109-117


    Homeless children show significant developmental delays across major domains of adaptation, yet research on protective processes that may contribute to resilient adaptation in this highly disadvantaged group of children is extremely rare. This study examined the role of effortful control for adaption in 58 homeless children, ages 5-6, during their transition to school. Effortful control skills were assessed using children's performance on four standard executive functioning tasks. Adaptive functioning was assessed by teacher report of academic competence, peer competence, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Variable-focused and person-focused results indicate that effortful control may be an important marker of school readiness and resilience. Controlling for child IQ, parenting quality, and socio-demographic risks, effortful control emerged as the most significant predictor of all four salient developmental domains of adaptation as well as of resilient status of homeless children. Implications of these findings are discussed for future research and design of interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.appdev.2009.09.004

    View details for PubMedID 20401161

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2853802

  • Biological Sensitivity to Context: The Interactive Effects of Stress Reactivity and Family Adversity on Socioemotional Behavior and School Readiness CHILD DEVELOPMENT Obradovic, J., Bush, N. R., Stamperdahl, J., Adler, N. E., Boyce, W. T. 2010; 81 (1): 270-289


    This study examined the direct and interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socioemotional and cognitive development in three hundred and thirty-eight 5- to 6-year-old children. Neurobiological stress reactivity was measured as respiratory sinus arrhythmia and salivary cortisol responses to social, cognitive, sensory, and emotional challenges. Adaptation was assessed using child, parent, and teacher reports of externalizing symptoms, prosocial behaviors, school engagement, and academic competence. Results revealed significant interactions between reactivity and adversity. High stress reactivity was associated with more maladaptive outcomes in the context of high adversity but with better adaption in the context of low adversity. The findings corroborate a reconceptualization of stress reactivity as biological sensitivity to context by showing that high reactivity can both hinder and promote adaptive functioning.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274308300017

    View details for PubMedID 20331667

  • Social representations of AIDS: Pictures in abnormal psychology textbooks, 1984-2005 Journal of Applied Social Psychology Schoeneman, T. J., Schoeneman-Morris, K. A., Obradović, J., Beecher-Flad, L. 2010; 40 (1): 13-35
  • Testing a Dual Cascade Model Linking Competence and Symptoms Over 20 Years from Childhood to Adulthood JOURNAL OF CLINICAL CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOLOGY Obradovic, J., Burt, K. B., Masten, A. S. 2010; 39 (1): 90-102


    This study examined the unique longitudinal effects linking academic competence, social competence, and internalizing symptoms from childhood to adulthood. A multimethod and multi-informant approach was used to assess psychopathology and competence in 205 participants during four developmental periods. Social competence in childhood had a cascading effect on internalizing symptoms in adolescence, whereas social and academic competence in emerging adulthood had dual cascading effects on internalizing in young adulthood. Results suggested a developmental cascade beginning with externalizing symptoms in childhood, which contributed to lower academic achievement in adolescence, which in turn influenced social competence in emerging adulthood and internalizing symptoms in young adulthood.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/15374410903401120

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274411600008

    View details for PubMedID 20390801

  • Intergenerational Continuity in Parenting Quality: The Mediating Role of Social Competence DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Shaffer, A., Burt, K. B., Obradovic, J., Herbers, J. E., Masten, A. S. 2009; 45 (5): 1227-1240


    Prospective studies of intergenerational continuity in parenting quality remain scarce, with little attention given to the potential role of social competence as a mediator of continuity. This study examined social competence as a mediator in the pathway from 1st generation (G1) to 2nd generation (G2) parenting quality. A normative sample of children and their parents were assessed in childhood, and again 10 and 20 years later. Parenting quality of G1 parents was assessed at each time point with multiple informants, as was G2 social competence. G2 parenting was assessed at the 20-year follow-up for those who were parents. The mediational role of social competence in G1 to G2 parenting quality was tested via nested path analytic models, accounting for continuity and cross-domain relations. Social competence mediated the intergenerational relation of parenting quality; results were invariant across gender and ethnic minority status and were unchanged after controlling for age, IQ, socioeconomic status, rule-abiding conduct, and personality (i.e., constraint). The authors discuss results regarding developmental theories of close relationships and the potential for cascading benefits within and across generations from interventions to improve G1 parenting or G2 social competence.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0015361

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269366900004

    View details for PubMedID 19702388

  • Academic achievement of homeless and highly mobile children in an urban school district: Longitudinal evidence on risk, growth, and resilience DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Obradovic, J., Long, J. D., Cutuli, J. J., Chan, C., Hinz, E., Heistad, D., Masten, A. S. 2009; 21 (2): 493-518


    Longitudinal growth trajectories of reading and math achievement were studied in four primary school grade cohorts (GCs) of a large urban district to examine academic risk and resilience in homeless and highly mobile (H/HM) students. Initial achievement was assessed when student cohorts were in the second, third, fourth, and fifth grades, and again 12 and 18 months later. Achievement trajectories of H/HM students were compared to low-income but nonmobile students and all other tested students in the district, controlling for four well-established covariates of achievement: sex, ethnicity, attendance, and English language skills. Both disadvantaged groups showed markedly lower initial achievement than their more advantaged peers, and H/HM students manifested the greatest risk, consistent with an expected risk gradient. Moreover, in some GCs, both disadvantaged groups showed slower growth than their relatively advantaged peers. Closer examination of H/HM student trajectories in relation to national test norms revealed striking variability, including cases of academic resilience as well as problems. H/HM students may represent a major component of "achievement gaps" in urban districts, but these students also constitute a heterogeneous group of children likely to have markedly diverse educational needs. Efforts to close gaps or enhance achievement in H/HM children require more differentiated knowledge of vulnerability and protective processes that may shape individual development and achievement.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579409000273

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265123600009

    View details for PubMedID 19338695

  • Individual Differences in Behavioral, Physiological, and Genetic Sensitivities to Contexts: Implications for Development and Adaptation DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE Obradovic, J., Boyce, W. T. 2009; 31 (4): 300-308


    Although exposure to adversity places children at high risk for developmental problems, there is considerable variation in the adaptation of children exposed to both low and high levels of adversity. In recent years, researchers have made significant progress in understanding how social environments shape children's development. Studies indicate that not all children are equally susceptible to environmental effects. In this article, we review the studies that examine individuals' sensitivity to both positive and negative contextual influences at three levels of analysis: behavioral, physiological, and genetic. Furthermore, we examine how these different types of sensitivities may be related and whether early exposure to adversity plays an important role in shaping development of individual reactivity to contexts. We also suggest important directions for future studies of individual differences in susceptibility to environmental effects.

    View details for DOI 10.1159/000216541

    View details for Web of Science ID 000267787200007

    View details for PubMedID 19546567

  • Self-control and the developing brain Zero To Three Tarullo, A. R., Obradović, J., Gunnar, M. R. 2009; 29 (3): 31-37
  • The Interplay of Social Competence and Psychopathology Over 20 Years: Testing Transactional and Cascade Models Child Development Burt, K. B., Obradović, J., Long, J. D., Masten, A. S. 2008; 79 (2): 359-374
  • Disaster Preparation and Recovery: Lessons from Research on Resilience in Human Development ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY Masten, A. S., Obradovic, J. 2008; 13 (1)
  • School success in motion: Protective factors for academic achievement in homeless and highly mobile children in Minneapolis Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Reporter Masten, A. S., Heistad, D., Cutuli, J. J., Herbers, J. E., Obradović, J., Chan, C., Hinz, E., Long, J. D. 2008; 38 (2): 3-12
  • Immigration as a risk factor for adolescent adaptation in Greek urban schools EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Motti-Stefanidi, F., Pavlopoulos, V., Obradovic, J., Dalla, M., Takis, N., Papathanassiou, A., Masten, A. S. 2008; 5 (2): 235-261
  • Acculturation and adaptation of immigrant adolescents in Greek urban schools INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY Motti-Stefanidi, F., Pavlopoulos, V., Obradovic, J., Masten, A. S. 2008; 43 (1): 45-58


    The purpose of this study was to examine the acculturation, psychological well-being, and school adjustment of Pontian adolescents from the former Soviet Union (FSU-Pontians), who are immigrants of the diaspora living in Greece, compared with an immigrant group from Albania and native Greek classmates. The sample included 165 FSU-Pontian immigrants, 272 immigrants from Albania, and their 525 Greek classmates (mean age = 13.7 years). School adjustment data were obtained using multiple methods and informants. Students also reported their subjective well-being and acculturation via multiple measures. Findings indicated that FSU-Pontian adolescents, although they are Greek citizens, had a stronger ethnic and a lower host-national orientation than did Albanian students. Both immigrant groups experienced similar difficulties in school adjustment. Involvement in Greek culture was a salient predictor of school adjustment, while involvement in one's ethnic culture was related to subjective well-being. Findings suggest that the acculturation expectations of host country members may be related to immigrants' acculturation orientations.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/00207590701804412

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253153700006

    View details for PubMedID 22023499

  • Measuring Interpersonal Callousness in Boys From Childhood to Adolescence: An Examination of Longitudinal Invariance and Temporal Stability Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Obradović, J., Pardini, D. A., Long, J. D., Loeber, R. 2007; 36 (3): 276-292
  • Developmental Antecedents of Young Adult Civic Engagement Applied Developmental Science Obradović, J., Masten, A. S. 2007; 11 (1): 2-19
  • Developmental assessment of competence from early childhood to middle adolescence JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENCE Obradovic, J., van Dulmen, M. H., Yates, T. M., Carlson, E. A., Egeland, B. 2006; 29 (6): 857-889


    This study represents a developmentally informed, empirically validated examination of competence across multiple domains (Social, Cognitive, Emotional well-being), gender and age (early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence, middle adolescence). Competence indicators were created and the structure of these domains was tested using multi-method, multi-informant data collected on 191 participants drawn from a prospective study of at-risk children. The results indicated that inter-individual differences in Cognitive and Social competence were stable across time, whereas inter-individual differences in Emotional well-being were stable only between early and middle adolescence. While the strength of stability of Cognitive competence was similar across different time points, the stability of Social competence declined after middle childhood, suggesting more inter-individual variability with regard to change. The findings also indicated that both the structure and the stability of competence are similar for boys and girls.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.adolescence.2006.04.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000242371400002

    View details for PubMedID 16808971

  • Competence and resilience in development RESILIENCE IN CHILDREN Masten, A. S., Obradovic, J. 2006; 1094: 13-27


    The first three waves of research on resilience in development, largely behavioral in focus, contributed a compelling set of concepts and methods, a surprisingly consistent body of findings, provocative issues and controversies, and clues to promising areas for the next wave of resilience research linking biology and neuroscience to behavioral adaptation in development. Behavioral investigators honed the definitions and assessments of risk, adversity, competence, developmental tasks, protective factors, and other key aspects of resilience, as they sought to understand how some children overcome adversity to do well in life. Their findings implicate fundamental adaptive systems, which in turn suggest hot spots for the rising fourth wave of integrative research on resilience in children, focused on processes studied at multiple levels of analysis and across species.

    View details for DOI 10.1196/annals.1376.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245807000002

    View details for PubMedID 17347338

  • Interpersonal Callousness, Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, Inattention, and Conduct Problems as Precursors to Delinquency Persistence in Boys: A Comparison of Three Grade-Based Cohorts Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology Pardini, D., Obradović, J., Loeber, R. 2006; 35 (1): 46-59
  • Resilience in Emerging Adulthood: Developmental Perspectives on Continuity and Transformation Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st century Masten, A. S., Obradović, J., Burt, K. B. edited by Arnett, J. J., Tanner, J. L. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press. 2006: 173–190
  • Pathways of adaptation from adolescence to young adulthood - Antecedents and correlates RESILIENCE IN CHILDREN Obradovic, J., Burt, K. B., Masten, A. S. 2006; 1094: 340-344


    This study examines longitudinal change using a person-centered approach to differentiate patterns of adaptive functioning from adolescence to adulthood. Data are drawn from a 20-year longitudinal study of competence and resilience in the lives of 205 school children (29% minority). Results indicate five distinct pathways of adaptation: (1) low-declining, (2) low-improving, (3) middle-improving, (4) middle-declining, and (5) consistently high. The study also compares the five groups on childhood risks and resources, and on longitudinal assessment of competence and adversity. Interestingly, the most dramatic changes in pathways of adaptation occur during the period of emerging adulthood.

    View details for DOI 10.1196/annals.1376.046

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245807000037

    View details for PubMedID 17347373

  • Developmental Cascades: Linking Academic Achievement and Externalizing and Internalizing Symptoms Over 20 Years Developmental Psychology Masten, A. S., Roisman, G. I., Long, J. D., Burt, K. B., Obradović, J., Riley, J. R., Boelcke-Stennes, K., Tellegen, A. 2005; 41 (5): 733-746
  • Resources and resilience in the transition to adulthood: Continuity and change DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Masten, A. S., BURT, K. B., Roisman, G. I., Obradovic, J., LONG, J. D., Tellegen, A. 2004; 16 (4): 1071-1094


    Patterns of continuity and change in competence and resilience over the transition to adulthood were examined in relation to adversity and psychosocial resources, with a focus on adaptive resources that may be particularly important for this transition. Variable-focused and person-focused analyses drew on data from the Project Competence longitudinal study of a school cohort followed over 20 years from childhood through emerging adulthood (EA) into the young adulthood (YA) years with excellent retention (90%). Success in age-salient and emerging developmental tasks from EA to YA was examined in a sample of 173 of the original participants with complete data on adversity, competence, and key resources. Regressions and extreme-group analyses indicated striking continuity in competence and resilience, yet also predictable change. Success in developmental tasks in EA and YA was related to core resources originating in childhood (IQ, parenting quality, socioeconomic status) and also to a set of EA adaptive resources that included planfulness/future motivation, autonomy, adult support, and coping skills. EA adaptive resources had unique predictive significance for successful transitions to adulthood, both overall and for the small group of individuals whose pattern of adaptation changed dramatically from maladaptive to resilient over the transition. Results are discussed in relation to the possibility that the transition to adulthood is a window of opportunity for changing the life course.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579404040143

    View details for Web of Science ID 000226157700014

    View details for PubMedID 15704828