Academic Appointments

2017-18 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • 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

  • Executive Functions and Externalizing Symptoms: Common and Unique Associations Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Sulik, M. J., Obradović, J. 2017; 45 (8): pp 1519–1522
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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