Dr. Philip Fisher is the Excellence in Learning Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford. His research, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1999, focuses on developing and evaluating scalable early childhood interventions in communities, and on translating scientific knowledge regarding healthy development under conditions of adversity for use in social policy and programs. He is particularly interested in the effects of early stressful experiences on children's neurobiological and psychological development, and in prevention and treatment programs for improving children's functioning in areas such as relationships with caregivers and peers, social-emotional development, and academic achievement. He is currently the lead investigator in the ongoing RAPID-EC project, a national survey on the well-being of households with young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Fisher is also interested in the brain's plasticity in the context of therapeutic interventions. He is the developer of a number of widely implemented evidence-based interventions for supporting healthy child development in the context of social and economic adversity, including Treatment Foster Care Oregon for Preschoolers (TFCO-P), Kids in Transition to School (KITS), and Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND). He has published over 200 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. He is the recipient of the 2012 Society for Prevention Research Translational Science Award, and a 2019 Fellow of the American Psychological Society.

Academic Appointments

Research Interests

  • Brain and Learning Sciences
  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood
  • Leadership and Organization
  • Parents and Family Issues
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Professional Development
  • Psychology
  • Social and Emotional Learning

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Comparing the multivariate relationships of conceptual adversity models and structural brain development in adolescent girls: A registered report. Developmental psychology Barrett, A. Y., Cheng, T. W., Flannery, J. E., Mills, K. L., Fisher, P. A., McCann, C. F., Pfeifer, J. H. 2024


    Adverse experiences throughout development confer risk for a multitude of negative long-term outcomes, but the processes via which these experiences are neurobiologically embedded are still unclear. Adolescence provides an opportunity to understand how these experiences impact the brain's rapidly changing structure. Two models are central to current adversity conceptualizations: a cumulative risk model, where all types of experiences are combined to represent accumulating stress, and a dimensional model, where certain features of experience (e.g., threat or deprivation) exert unique neurophysiological influence. In this registered report, we extended upon previous research by using a form of representational similarity analysis to examine whether the dimensional and cumulative risk models of adversity predict cortical thinning in frontoparietal and frontotemporal networks and volumetric changes in subcortical regions throughout adolescence. Drawing from a longitudinal sample of 179 adolescent girls (ages 10-13 years at the first wave) from Lane County, Oregon, United States, and up to four waves of follow-up data, we found that operationalizing adversity by similarity in threat and deprivation provided better prediction of brain development than similarity in overall adversity. However, these dimensions do not exhibit unique associations with developmental changes in the hypothesized brain changes. These results underscore the significance of carefully defining adversity and considering its impact on the entire brain. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/dev0001684

    View details for PubMedID 38358662

  • Examining the relationship between discrimination, access to material resources, and black children?s behavioral functioning during COVID-19 EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY Ibekwe-Okafor, N., Sims, J., Liu, S., Curenton-Jolly, S., Iruka, I., Escayg, K., Bruno, B., Fisher, P. 2023; 62: 335-346
  • The promotive and protective effects of parents' perceived changes during the COVID-19 pandemic on emotional well-being among U.S. households with young children: an investigation of family resilience processes. Frontiers in psychology Liu, S., Curenton, S. M., Sims, J., Fisher, P. A. 2023; 14: 1270514


    Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic may constitute a traumatic event for families with young children due to its acute onset, the unpredictable and ubiquitous nature, and the highly distressing disruptions it caused in family lives. Despite the prevalent challenges such as material hardships, child care disruptions, and social isolation, some families evinced remarkable resilience in the face of this potentially traumatic event. This study examined domains of changes perceived by parents of young children that were consistent with the post-traumatic growth (PTG) model as factors that facilitate family resilience processes.Methods: This study drew data from the RAPID project, a large ongoing national study that used frequent online surveys to examine the pandemic impact on U.S. households with young children. A subsample of 669 families was leveraged for the current investigation, including 8.07% Black, 9.57% Latino(a), 74.44% non-Latino(a) White families, and 7.92% households of other racial/ethnic backgrounds. In this subsample, 26.36% were below 200% federal poverty level.Results: Approximately half of the parents reported moderate-to-large degrees of changes during the pandemic, and the most prevalent domain of change was appreciation of life, followed by personal strengths, new possibilities, improved relationships, and spiritual growth. Black and Latino(a) parents reported more changes in all five domains than White parents and more spiritual growth than parents of the other racial/ethnic groups. Moreover, parent-reported improved relationships were found to indirectly reduce young children's overall fussiness/defiance and fear/anxiety symptoms through reducing parents' emotional distress. Perceived changes in the new possibilities, personal strengths, and appreciation of life domains were found to serve as protective factors that buffered the indirect impacts of material hardship mean levels on child behavioral symptoms via mitigating parents' emotional distress.Discussion: These findings shed light on resilience processes of a family system in a large-scale, disruptive, and stressful socio-historical event such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The five PTG domains could inform therapeutic and intervention practices in the face of future similar events. Importantly, these findings and the evinced family resilience should not negate the urgent needs of policy and program efforts to address material hardships, financial instabilities, and race/ethnicity-based structural inequalities for families of young children.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1270514

    View details for PubMedID 38259548

  • Mental-Health Trajectories of U.S. Parents With Young Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Universal Introduction of Risk. Clinical psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science Zalewski, M., Liu, S., Gunnar, M., Lengua, L. J., Fisher, P. A. 2023; 11 (1): 183-196


    Parents of young children were a subgroup of the population identified early in the pandemic as experiencing significant mental-health symptoms. Using a longitudinal sample of 3,085 parents from across the United States who had a child or children age 0 to 5, in the present study, we identified parental mental-health trajectories from April to November 2020 predicted by pre-COVID-19 cumulative risk and COVID-19-specific risk factors. Both growth-mixture modeling and latent-growth-curve modeling were used to test the relationship between risk factors and parent mental health. Pre-COVID-19 cumulative risk and COVID-19-specific risks of financial strain, decreased employment, and increased family conflict were salient risk factors predicting poor mental-health trajectories across both modeling approaches. These finding have public-health implications because prolonged exposure to mental-health symptoms in parents constitutes a risk factor for child development.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/21677026221083275

    View details for PubMedID 36751427

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9892531

  • Improving Children's Expressive Language and Auditory Comprehension Through Responsive Caregiving: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Strength-Based Video-Coaching Intervention. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research Imhof, A., Liu, S., Schlueter, L., Phu, T., Watamura, S., Fisher, P. 2022


    Young children from low-SES backgrounds are at higher risk for delayed language development, likely due to differences in their home language environment and decreased opportunities for back and forth communicative exchange. Intervention strategies that encourage reciprocal caregiver-child interactions may effectively promote young children's language development and enhance optimal language outcomes. The Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND) program is a brief strength-based video-coaching intervention designed to promote increased back and forth ("serve and return") interactions between caregivers and their children. The current study used data from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the effectiveness of the FIND program in improving auditory comprehension and expressive communication skills among children from low-SES backgrounds. The current study used a pretest-posttest design to evaluate intervention effects from an RCT with 91 low-SES families. Families with children aged 4 to 36months old (41.8% female) were randomly assigned to an active control or FIND intervention group. Children's auditory comprehension and expressive communication were assessed using the Preschool Language Scales, Fifth Edition (PLS-5) during both pre- and post-intervention sessions. Children in the FIND intervention group showed significantly increased expressive communication skills and a non-significant increase in auditory comprehension skills across the intervention period. In contrast, children in the active control group showed non-significant changes in expressive communication and a statistically significant decline in auditory comprehension abilities between pre- and post-intervention assessments. All analyses controlled for sex, age, and home language. This study provides preliminary evidence that the FIND intervention promotes the development of expressive and receptive language skills among young children in high-stress, low-SES environments.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-022-01455-4

    View details for PubMedID 36322270

  • Adapting Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Perinatal Depression to Improve Access and Appeal of Preventive Care. Journal of midwifery & women's health Tilden, E. L., Holmes, L. R., Vasquez Guzman, C. E., Orzech, C. P., Seghete, K. M., Eyo, V., Supahan, N., Rogers, G. R., Caughey, A. B., Starr, D., DiPietro, J. L., Fisher, P. A., Graham, A. M. 2022; 67 (6): 707-713


    Existing and emerging evidence indicates that perinatal depression is a key contributor to preventable morbidity and mortality during and after childbearing. Despite this, there are few effective options for prevention and treatment that are readily accessible for and appealing to pregnant people. Aspects of routine health care systems contribute to this situation. Furthermore, societal and health care systems factors create additional barriers for people of color, people living in rural regions, and people living in poverty. Our interprofessional team of perinatal care providers, mental health providers, community partners, health services scientists, health equity scientists, and business leaders developed and are piloting a perinatal mental health preventive intervention designed to increase access and appeal of a program incorporating mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy with proven efficacy in preventing perinatal depression. In this article, we briefly summarize key systems barriers to delivering preventive care for perinatal depression in standard prenatal care clinics. We then describe Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Perinatal Depression and outline our adaptation of this intervention, Center M. Finally, we identify next steps, challenges, and opportunities for this recent innovation.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jmwh.13444

    View details for PubMedID 36527394

  • Mental-Health Trajectories of U.S. Parents With Young Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Universal Introduction of Risk CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Zalewski, M., Liu, S., Gunnar, M., Lengua, L. J., Fisher, P. A. 2022
  • Material hardship level and unpredictability in relation to U.S. households' family interactions and emotional well-being: Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic. Social science & medicine (1982) Liu, S., Zalewski, M., Lengua, L., Gunnar, M. R., Giuliani, N., Fisher, P. A. 2022; 307: 115173


    The COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized to provide rare insight to advance the scientific understanding of early life adversity, such as material hardship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, material hardship (i.e., difficulty paying for basic needs) in families of young children has had detrimental effects on caregivers' and children's well-being. In addition to the degree of material hardship, the week-to-week and month-to-month unpredictability of hardship status may add to families' stress and worsen well-being. This study examined the magnitude of and mechanisms underlying the effects of material hardship level and unpredictability on the well-being of U.S. households with young children during the pandemic.Data were drawn from the RAPID project, a large ongoing national study that used weekly/biweekly online surveys to investigate the pandemic impact on U.S. households with young children. The current study leveraged data from 4621 families who provided at least three responses between April 2020 and October 2021.Findings indicated that racial/ethnic minorities and lower-income households experienced higher levels of material hardship and unpredictability during the pandemic, compared to their White or higher-income counterparts. Levels of pandemic-related material hardship and hardship unpredictability were both significantly associated with worsened well-being among caregivers and children. Finally, the effects of hardship level and unpredictability on well-being outcomes were partially mediated through disrupted family routines.The findings from this study highlight that ensuring equal and adequate access to financial resources, as well as promoting financial stability for households with young children are both critical for maintaining functional family dynamics and promoting caregivers' and children's optimal well-being.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115173

    View details for PubMedID 35785642

  • Routines as a Protective Factor for Emerging Mental Health and Behavioral Problems in Children with Neurodevelopmental Delays ADVANCES IN NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS Hatherly, K., Stienwandt, S., Salisbury, M. R., Roos, L. E., Fisher, P. A. 2022
  • Differential neural sensitivity to social inclusion and exclusion in adolescents in foster care. NeuroImage. Clinical Vijayakumar, N., Cheng, T. W., Flannery, J. E., Flournoy, J. C., Ross, G., Mobasser, A., Op de Macks, Z., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2022; 34: 102986


    OBJECTIVES: Adolescents in foster care may exhibit differential patterns of brain functioning that contribute to their pervasive socioemotional challenges. However, there has been limited investigation of implicated neural processes, particularly in the social domain. Thus, the current study investigated neural responses to exclusionary and inclusionary peer interactions in adolescents in foster-care.METHODS: Participants comprised adolescents aged 11-18years in foster care (N=69) and a community sample (N=69). They completed an fMRI adaptation of Cyberball, a virtual ball-throwing paradigm, that included periods of exclusion and over-inclusion. To investigate neural sensitivity to peer social experiences, we quantified neural responses that scaled with consecutive inclusionary and exclusionary interactions (using parametric modulators).RESULTS: Relative to the community sample, adolescents in foster care exhibited increasing response to consecutive exclusionary events in lateral prefrontal regions and decreasing response to consecutive inclusionary events in the intraparietal sulcus and temporo-occipital cortex. Further, exploratory analyses revealed that dorsolateral prefrontal activation to exclusion was related to externalizing problems, particularly in the foster care sample.CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight greater neural sensitivity to exclusionary, and lesser sensitivity to inclusionary, peer interactions in adolescents in foster care. Engagement of prefrontal clusters may reflect greater salience and emotion regulatory processes during exclusion, while parietal and temporal clusters may reflect reduced attention and behavioural engagement during inclusion. Thus foster care involvement is associated with broad changes in neural responses during peer interactions, and further these potentially relate to externalizing problems that have been identified in this vulnerable population.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nicl.2022.102986

    View details for PubMedID 35290856

  • Early experience unpredictability in child development as a model for understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: A translational neuroscience perspective. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Liu, S., Fisher, P. A. 2022; 54: 101091


    Extensive evidence links adverse experiences during childhood to a wide range of negative consequences in biological, socioemotional, and cognitive development. Unpredictability is a core element underlying most forms of early adversity; it has been a focus of developmental research for many years and has been receiving increasing attention recently. In this article, we propose a conceptual model to describe how unpredictable and adverse early experiences affect children's neurobiological, behavioral, and psychological development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We first highlight the critical role of unpredictability in child development by reviewing existing conceptual models of early adversity as they relate to subsequent development across the lifespan. Then, we employ a translational neuroscience framework to summarize the current animal- and human-based evidence on the neurobiological alterations induced by early experience unpredictability. We further argue that the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a global "natural experiment" that provides rare insight to the investigation of the negative developmental consequences of widespread, clustered, and unpredictable adverse events among children. We discuss how the pandemic helps advance the science of unpredictable early adverse experiences. As unpredictability research continues to grow, we highlight several directions for future studies and implications for policymaking and intervention practices.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101091

    View details for PubMedID 35217299

  • The COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Households of Young Children With Special Healthcare Needs JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Liu, S., Lombardi, J., Fisher, P. A. 2022; 47 (2): 158-170


    This study examined how the COVID-19 pandemic differently affected households of children with versus without special healthcare needs. We compared caregivers' and children's emotional well-being (Aim 1), the utilization of preventive healthcare services for young children (Aim 2), and the promotive effects of social support on well-being outcomes (Aim 3) during the pandemic between the two groups.Data were drawn from an ongoing, large, longitudinal, and national survey that assessed the pandemic impact on households of young children (0-5). Analyses for Aims 1 and 2 were based on 10,572 households, among which 10.96% had children with special healthcare needs. Analyses for Aim 3 were based on a subsample of 821 families, among which 12.54% had children with special healthcare needs.Caregivers of children with special healthcare needs exhibited more emotional distress and reported higher levels of household children's behavioral problems during the pandemic. The percentages of missed preventive healthcare visits and vaccinations were also higher in families of children with special healthcare needs due to structural barriers. Lastly, emotional social support was indirectly related to children's decreased behavioral problems through caregivers' reduced emotional distress, only among households of children without special healthcare needs. In other words, social support alone was not sufficient in promoting caregivers' and children's better well-being outcomes among households of children with special healthcare needs.The pandemic has caused extensive burdens on families of children with special healthcare needs. Actions from policymakers and early intervention service providers are urgently needed to mitigate these impacts.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsab135

    View details for Web of Science ID 000754760200005

    View details for PubMedID 34957525

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8755305

  • The Effectiveness of KEEP for Families of Children with Developmental Delays: Integrating FIND Video Coaching into Parent Management Training-Oregon Model: a Randomized Trial PREVENTION SCIENCE Salisbury, M. R., Roos, L. E., Horn, S. R., Peake, S. J., Fisher, P. A. 2022


    Children with developmental delays or disabilities (DD) are at risk for self-regulation difficulties and behaviour problems compared to typically developing children. Intervening early is crucial to prevent long-term adjustment challenges across home and school contexts. Parenting has been identified as a malleable target of intervention for improving children's adaptive functioning across behavioural, emotional and cognitive domains. Although parent management training (PMT) is an identified best-practice, key questions remain about the critical components of interventions and how novel approaches like video feedback may offer additional benefits. Using a pre-test-post-test one group and superiority design, we evaluated the efficacy of two models of the Keeping Parents Trained and Supported (KEEP) preschool program with parent-only components among 175 families with children diagnosed or at-risk for DD. KEEP-P included core PMT (Oregon Model) methods and KEEP-V integrated KEEP with Filming Interactions to Nurture Development video coaching methods for enhancing developmentally supportive interactions. Intervention outcomes on children's behaviour problems and executive functioning, parenting stress and parent-child relationship quality were compared between groups. Both groups demonstrated significant reductions over time in child behavioural problems, developmental problems and parenting stress. Significant improvements were observed in children's executive functioning, parents' sense of competence and mindfulness in parenting. Group differences were observed in parent's sense of competence, with individuals receiving KEEP-P displaying greater increases over time. Higher intervention dosage predicted a greater reduction in stressful child behaviours and greater improvements in children's inhibitory control.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-022-01344-w

    View details for Web of Science ID 000750402800001

    View details for PubMedID 35107694

  • A brief video-coaching intervention buffers young children's vulnerability to the impact of caregivers' depressive symptoms: Examination of differential susceptibility DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Liu, S., Fisher, P. A., Schlueter, L. J., Phu, T., Gunnar, M. R., Watamura, S. E. 2021; 33 (5): 1685-1700
  • The Value of Mechanistic Experiments to Target the Shared Neural Circuitry of Parenting and Addiction: The Potential for Video Feedback Interventions FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY Barrett, A. Y., Mudiam, K. R., Fisher, P. A. 2021; 12: 703948


    Certain neural processes that underlie addiction are also central to parenting, notably stress and reward. Parenting interventions that incorporate the unique context of caregivers with addiction have demonstrated some success: However, real-world implementation of evidence-based interventions can be difficult with this population. Video feedback interventions are an especially promising approach to reach parents who experience barriers to participation, particularly caregivers with addiction. A translational neuroscientific approach to elucidating the mechanisms of change in these interventions will aid the delivery and success of this method and advance theory surrounding parenting in the context of addiction. Along these lines, we provide an example of one video feedback intervention, Filming Interactions to Nurture Development, that will serve as such a mechanistic experiment.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.703948

    View details for Web of Science ID 000717111300001

    View details for PubMedID 34671289

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8520908

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child and adolescent development around the world CHILD DEVELOPMENT Rao, N., Fisher, P. A. 2021; 92 (5): E738-E748

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.13653

    View details for Web of Science ID 000700113100001

    View details for PubMedID 34569058

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8652930

  • Psychosocial factors associated with preventive pediatric care during the COVID-19 pandemic SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE Weston, S. J., Condon, D. M., Fisher, P. A. 2021; 287: 114356


    Identifying the factors that predict non-adherence to recommended preventive pediatric care is necessary for the development of successful interventions to improve compliance.Given the substantial decline in well-child visits and influenza vaccinations, we sought to examine sociodemographic (i.e., parent age, education, employment status, child age, insurance coverage, household size, race and ethnicity, income, COVID-19 incidence in state) and psychosocial (i.e., child temperament, parent mental health, parent personality traits) factors associated with preventative pediatric care (well-child visits, influenza vaccines) during the COVID-19 pandemic.As part of a larger, ongoing study, 1875 parents (96% mothers, 65% age 35 or younger, 58% with a college degree) reported whether they had missed any recommended or scheduled well-child visits since the pandemic and whether they had vaccinated their child against the flu. Using data collected during fall 2020, we examine differences in these health outcomes across social/demographic factors and psychological profiles. In addition, we use lasso logistic regression models to (1) estimate the accuracy with which we can predict adherence from these characteristics and (2) identify factors most strongly, independently associated with adherence.Parent psychological factors were associated with outcomes above and beyond known demographic and social factors. For example, parent industriousness and orderliness were associated with greater likelihoods of attending well-child visits and vaccinating children, while parent conservatism and creativity were associated with lower rates. We also replicate prior work documenting that health insurance, income, and household size are major factors in receiving adequate pediatric care.Adherence to preventive pediatric care varies as a function of psychological factors, suggesting that the current system of pediatric care favors some psychological profiles over others. However, the specific traits associated with non-adherence point to potentially fruitful interventions, specifically around increasing functional proximity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114356

    View details for Web of Science ID 000701028800017

    View details for PubMedID 34474308

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8516410

  • Effects of a school readiness intervention on electrophysiological indices of external response monitoring in children in foster care DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Bruce, J., Pears, K. C., McDermott, J., Fox, N. A., Fisher, P. A. 2021; 33 (3): 832-842


    This study examined the impact of a school readiness intervention on external response monitoring in children in foster care. Behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) data were collected during a flanker task from children who received the Kids In Transition to School (KITS) Program (n = 26) and children who received services as usual (n = 19) before and after the intervention. While there were no significant group differences on the behavioral data, the ERP data for the two groups of children significantly differed. Specifically, in contrast to the children who received services as usual, the children who received the KITS Program displayed greater amplitude differences between positive and negative performance feedback over time for the N1, which reflects early attention processes, and feedback-related negativity, which reflects evaluation processes. In addition, although the two groups did not differ on amplitude differences between positive and negative performance feedback for these ERP components before the intervention, the children who received the KITS Program displayed greater amplitude differences than the children who received services as usual after the intervention. These results suggest that the KITS Program had an effect on responsivity to external performance feedback, which may be beneficial during the transition into kindergarten.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579420000164

    View details for Web of Science ID 000685846800008

    View details for PubMedID 32489170

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7710616

  • Improving Caregiver Self-Efficacy and Children's Behavioral Outcomes via a Brief Strength-Based Video Coaching Intervention: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial PREVENTION SCIENCE Liu, S., Phu, T., Dominguez, A., Hurwich-Reiss, E., McGee, D., Watamura, S., Fisher, P. 2021


    Many existing preventive intervention programs focus on promoting responsive parenting practices. However, these parenting programs are often long in duration and expensive, and meta-analytic evidence indicates that families facing high levels of adversity typically benefit less. Moreover, due to a lack of specification and evaluation of conceptual models, the mechanisms underlying program-related changes in caregivers and their children often remain unclear. The current study aimed to test the effectiveness of a video feedback parenting intervention program, Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND), in improving caregivers' self-efficacy and reducing children's behavioral problems. Data derived from a randomized controlled trial using pretest-posttest design with low-income families reporting high levels of stress (N = 91, children aged 4 to 36 months old, 41.8% female). Families were randomly assigned to an active control or FIND intervention group. Results indicated that caregivers in the FIND group exhibited significant improvement in self-report sense of parenting competence and self-efficacy in teaching tasks. These program impacts were particularly pronounced among caregivers who experience high levels of childhood adversity. Findings provide preliminary support for the FIND conceptual model. Specifically, caregivers' improved self-efficacy in teaching tasks was linked to children's reduced internalizing and externalizing problems (notably, direct FIND intervention effects on children's behavioral outcomes were not observed). Overall, results support the effectiveness of FIND in enhancing caregivers' sense of parenting competence and potentially promoting optimal child development.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-021-01251-6

    View details for Web of Science ID 000648207700001

    View details for PubMedID 33961176

  • Characterizing the impact of adversity, abuse, and neglect on adolescent amygdala resting-state functional connectivity DEVELOPMENTAL COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Cheng, T. W., Mills, K. L., Dominguez, O., Zeithamova, D., Perrone, A., Sturgeon, D., Ewing, S., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H., Fair, D. A., Seghete, K. 2021; 47: 100894


    Characterizing typologies of childhood adversity may inform the development of risk profiles and corresponding interventions aimed at mitigating its lifelong consequences. A neurobiological grounding of these typologies requires systematic comparisons of neural structure and function among individuals with different exposure histories. Using seed-to-whole brain analyses, this study examined associations between childhood adversity and amygdala resting-state functional connectivity (rs-fc) in adolescents aged 11-19 years across three independent studies (N = 223; 127 adversity group) in both general and dimensional models of adversity (comparing abuse and neglect). In a general model, adversity was associated with altered amygdala rs-fc with clusters within the left anterior lateral prefrontal cortex. In a dimensional model, abuse was associated with altered amygdala rs-fc within the orbitofrontal cortex, dorsal precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex/anterior mid-cingulate cortex, as well as within the dorsal attention, visual, and somatomotor networks. Neglect was associated with altered amygdala rs-fc with the hippocampus, supplementary motor cortex, temporoparietal junction, and regions within the dorsal attention network. Both general and dimensional models revealed unique regions, potentially reflecting pathways by which distinct histories of adversity may influence adolescent behavior, cognition, and psychopathology.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100894

    View details for Web of Science ID 000697277000011

    View details for PubMedID 33385788

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7786040

  • Alpha electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry among toddlers in foster care Blaisdell, K. N., Barker, T. V., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A. CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS. 2020: 1743-1753


    The majority of children living in foster care in the United States have a history of maltreatment and/or disrupted caregiving. Maltreatment in early childhood adversely affects development at many levels, including neurobiology and behavior. One neurobiological measure associated with maltreatment is alpha electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry. Prior research has found greater right frontal asymmetry among children with a history of maltreatment. However, little research has been extended developmentally downward to examine alpha asymmetry and its behavioral correlates among toddlers in foster care; this was the purpose of the present study. Differences in EEG asymmetry were examined between a sample of foster toddlers (mean age = 3.21 years, n = 38) and a community comparison, low-income sample without a history of foster care (mean age = 3.04 years, n = 16). The toddlers in the foster care group exhibited greater right alpha asymmetry, primarily driven by differences in parietal asymmetry. Neither frontal nor parietal asymmetry were clearly related to internalizing or externalizing behaviors, measured concurrently or at previous time points. These findings reveal differences in alpha EEG asymmetry among toddlers in foster care, and highlight the need to better understand associations between neurobiological and behavioral functioning following early adversity.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579420001212

    View details for Web of Science ID 000607295100014

    View details for PubMedID 33427181

  • Stress system reactivity moderates the association between cumulative risk and children's externalizing symptoms INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Salisbury, M. R., Stienwandt, S., Giuliano, R., Penner-Goeke, L., Fisher, P. A., Roos, L. E. 2020; 158: 248-258


    This study examined children's stress system reactivity via the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPAA) during an acute stressor as moderators of predicted relations between cumulative risk (CR) and mental health symptoms in a sociodemographically diverse sample of young children (n = 58). We employed a reliable stressor paradigm to allow assessment of individual differences in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and pre-ejection period (PEP), indexing ANS reactivity, and salivary cortisol, indexing HPAA reactivity. Children's behaviours were assessed using the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). Cumulative risk was indexed by eight parent-reported sociodemographic and psychosocial risk factors. There was a significant main effect of CR on externalizing but not internalizing behaviours. Significant moderations emerged showing that among children with high CR, less RSA withdrawal during the acute stressor and less cortisol recovery following the stressor were associated with to greater externalizing behaviours. Among children with low CR, RSA and cortisol recovery were unrelated to internalizing or externalizing symptoms. Cortisol and PEP reactivity were not significant moderators. Results highlight the relevance of stress system function for understanding differential susceptibility to the early emergence of externalizing symptoms, linked to cumulative risk exposure.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2020.09.016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000600228600025

    View details for PubMedID 33148503

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8912914

  • Using Item Response Theory to Evaluate the Children's Behavior Questionnaire: Considerations of General Functioning and Assessment Length PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Clark, D., Donnellan, M., Durbin, C., Brooker, R. J., Neppl, T. K., Gunnar, M., Carlson, S. M., Le Mare, L., Kochanska, G., Fisher, P. A., Leve, L. D., Rothbart, M. K., Putnam, S. P. 2020; 32 (10): 928-942


    Although the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ; Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey, & Fisher, 2001) is the most popular assessment for childhood temperament, its psychometric qualities have yet to be examined using Item Response Theory (IRT) methods. These methods highlight in detail the specific contributions of individual items for measuring different facets of temperament. Importantly, with 16 scales for tapping distinct aspects of child functioning (195 items total), the CBQ's length can be prohibitive in many contexts. The detailed information about item functioning provided by IRT methods is therefore especially useful. The current study used IRT methods to analyze the CBQ's 16 temperament scales and identify potentially redundant items. An abbreviated "IRT form" was generated based on these results and evaluated across four independent validation samples. The IRT form was compared to the original and short CBQ forms (Putnam & Rothbart, 2006). Results provide fine-grained detail on the CBQ's psychometric functioning and suggest it is possible to remove up to 39% of the original form's items while largely preserving the measurement precision and content coverage of each scale. This study provides considerable psychometric information about the CBQ's items and scales and highlights future avenues for creating even more efficient high-quality temperament assessments. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pas0000883

    View details for Web of Science ID 000575829100003

    View details for PubMedID 32584073

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8497017

  • Expectations of Social Consequences Impact Anticipated Involvement in Health-Risk Behavior During Adolescence JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON ADOLESCENCE Andrews, J. L., Mills, K. L., Flournoy, J. C., Flannery, J. E., Mobasser, A., Ross, G., Durnin, M., Peake, S., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2020; 30 (4): 1008-1024


    This study examined how individual differences in expectations of social consequences relate to individuals' expected involvement in health-risk behaviors (HRBs). A total of 122 adolescents (aged 11-17) reported their expected involvement in a number of risk behaviors and whether or not they expect to be liked more or less by engaging in the behavior: the expected social benefit. Higher perceived social benefit was associated with higher anticipated involvement in said behavior. This relationship was stronger for adolescents who reported a higher degree of peer victimization, supporting the hypothesis that experiencing victimization increases the social value of peer interactions. Findings suggest that adolescents incorporate expectations of social consequences when making decisions regarding their involvement in HRBs.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jora.12576

    View details for Web of Science ID 000568785200001

    View details for PubMedID 32910510

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8494461

  • Contextual variables associated with stress and well-being in early childhood households during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for science, policy, and practice Fisher, P. A., Barker, T., Mendoza, J., Beauchamp, K. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. 2020: S36
  • Measurement of parental executive function in early childhood settings: Instrument reliability and validity in community-led research projects JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY Black, C. D., Barker, T., Fisher, P. 2020; 48 (7): 2277-2289


    A growing number of early childhood (EC) parenting programs target adult executive function (EF) to build responsive parenting behaviors and to promote positive child development. Although measurement of EF is well understood in academic research, little work has examined EF measurement in community settings. The present study examined psychometric properties of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version among 203 parents whose children were enrolled in EC programs serving under-resourced communities. We calculated Cronbach's α and mean-item correlations to test internal consistency reliability. To test factor structure, we conducted exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analyses. Results suggest adequate internal consistency and that factor structures, beyond the original proposed, are appropriate for our community sample. Together, findings indicate that self-report measures of adult EF may perform differently for families experiencing adversity, raising questions about the acceptability of clinical EF tools in in underserved communities.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcop.22413

    View details for Web of Science ID 000563980200011

    View details for PubMedID 32667059

  • Identifying causal role of COVID-19 in immunopsychiatry models BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND IMMUNITY Horn, S. R., Weston, S. J., Fisher, P. A. 2020; 88: 6-8

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.066

    View details for Web of Science ID 000555709500002

    View details for PubMedID 32479992

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7256562

  • Advancing Preventive Interventions for Pregnant Women Who Are Opioid Using via the Integration of Addiction and Mental Health Research CURRENT ADDICTION REPORTS Seghete, K., Graham, A. M., Shank, T. M., Alsup, S. L., Fisher, P. A., Wilson, A. C., Ewing, S. 2020; 7 (1): 61-67


    This review examines how research focused on treatment for opioid use in perinatal populations and preventive interventions for postpartum psychopathology have remained separate, despite significant overlap.Guidelines for best practice in caring for pregnant women with opioid use disorder suggest the use of medication-assisted treatment with additional comprehensive care, including behavioral and mental health interventions. However, intervention research often mutually excludes these two populations, with studies of behavioral interventions for opioid use excluding women with psychopathology and research on preventive interventions for postpartum psychopathology excluding women who are substance using.There is a limited evidence-base to inform the selection of appropriate preventive interventions for pregnant women with opioid use disorder that can address opioid use and/or treatment adherence and concurrent mental health risks. We argue it is critical to integrate research on pregnant women who are opioid using and preventive perinatal mental health interventions to catalyze pivotal change in how we address the opioid epidemic within this growing population.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40429-020-00296-x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000667151300006

    View details for PubMedID 32201680

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7083585

  • Feeling left out or just surprised? Neural correlates of social exclusion and overinclusion in adolescence COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE Cheng, T. W., Vijayakumar, N., Flournoy, J. C., Op de Macks, Z., Peake, S. J., Flannery, J. E., Mobasser, A., Alberti, S. L., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2020; 20 (2): 340-355


    Social belonging is an important human drive that influences mood and behavior. Neural responses to social exclusion are well-characterized, but the specificity of these responses to processing rejection-related affective distress is unknown. The present study compares neural responses to exclusion and overinclusion, a condition that similarly violates fairness expectations but does not involve rejection, with a focus on implications for models of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and anterior insula (AI) function. In an fMRI adaptation of the Cyberball paradigm with adolescents aged 11.1-17.7 years (N = 69), we employed parametric modulators to examine scaling of neural signal with cumulative exclusion and inclusion events, an approach that overcomes arbitrary definitions of condition onsets/offsets imposed on fluid, continuous gameplay. We identified positive scaling of dACC and posterior insula response with cumulative exclusion events, but these same regions exhibited trending signal decreases with cumulative inclusion events. Furthermore, areas within the dACC and insula also responded to context incongruency (throws to the participant in the exclusion run; throws between computer players in the overinclusion run). These findings caution against interpretations that responses in these regions uniquely reflect the affective distress of exclusion within social interaction paradigms. We further identified that the left ventrolateral PFC, rostromedial PFC, and left intraparietal sulcus responded similarly to cumulative exclusion and inclusion. These findings shed light on which neural regions exhibit patterns of differential sensitivity to exclusion or overinclusion, as well as those that are more broadly engaged by both types of social interaction.

    View details for DOI 10.3758/s13415-020-00772-x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000516126500001

    View details for PubMedID 32056138

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7338003

  • Gut Feelings Begin in Childhood: the Gut Metagenome Correlates with Early Environment, Caregiving, and Behavior. mBio Flannery, J. E., Stagaman, K., Burns, A. R., Hickey, R. J., Roos, L. E., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A., Sharpton, T. J. 2020; 11 (1)


    Psychosocial environments impact normative behavioral development in children, increasing the risk of problem behaviors and psychiatric disorders across the life span. Converging evidence demonstrates that early normative development is affected by the gut microbiome, which itself can be altered by early psychosocial environments. However, much of our understanding of the gut microbiome's role in early development stems from nonhuman animal models and predominately focuses on the first years of life, during peri- and postnatal microbial colonization. As a first step to identify if these findings translate to humans and the extent to which these relationships are maintained after initial microbial colonization, we conducted a metagenomic investigation among a cross-sectional sample of early school-aged children with a range of adverse experiences and caregiver stressors and relationships. Our results indicate that the taxonomic and functional composition of the gut microbiome correlates with behavior during a critical period of child development. Furthermore, our analysis reveals that both socioeconomic risk exposure and child behaviors associate with the relative abundances of specific taxa (e.g., Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium species) as well as functional modules encoded in their genomes (e.g., monoamine metabolism) that have been linked to cognition and health. While we cannot infer causality within this study, these findings suggest that caregivers may moderate the gut microbiome's link to environment and behaviors beyond the first few years of life.IMPORTANCE Childhood is a formative period of behavioral and biological development that can be modified, for better or worse, by the psychosocial environment that is in part determined by caregivers. Not only do our own genes and the external environment influence such developmental trajectories, but the community of microbes living in, on, and around our bodies-the microbiome-plays an important role as well. By surveying the gut microbiomes of a cross-sectional cohort of early school-aged children with a range of psychosocial environments and subclinical mental health symptoms, we demonstrated that caregiving behaviors modified the child gut microbiome's association to socioeconomic risk and behavioral dysregulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/mBio.02780-19

    View details for PubMedID 31964729

  • Levers and Barriers to Success in the Use of Translational Neuroscience for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental Health and Promotion of Well-Being Across the Lifespan JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Horn, S. R., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H., Allen, N. B., Berkman, E. T. 2020; 129 (1): 38-48


    Neuroscientific tools and approaches such as neuroimaging, measures of neuroendocrine and psychoneuroimmune activity, and peripheral physiology are increasingly used in clinical science and health psychology research. We define translational neuroscience (TN) as a systematic, theory-driven approach that aims to develop and leverage basic and clinical neuroscientific knowledge to aid the development and optimization of clinical and public health interventions. There is considerable potential across basic and clinical science fields for this approach to provide insights into mental and physical health pathology that had previously been inaccessible. For example, TN might hold the potential to enhance diagnostic specificity, better recognize increased vulnerability in at-risk populations, and augment intervention efficacy. Despite this potential, there has been limited consideration of the advantages and limitations of such an approach. In this article, we articulate extant challenges in defining TN and propose a unifying conceptualization. We illustrate how TN can inform the application of neuroscientific tools to realistically guide clinical research and inform intervention design. We outline specific leverage points of the TN approach and barriers to progress. Ten principles of TN are presented to guide and shape the emerging field. We close by articulating ongoing issues facing TN research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/abn0000465

    View details for Web of Science ID 000504010400006

    View details for PubMedID 31868386

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7131983

  • Strengthening children's roots of resilience: Trauma-responsive early learning CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Lipscomb, S. T., Hatfield, B., Lewis, H., Goka-Dubose, E., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 107
  • Early adversity, child neglect, and stress neurobiology: From observations of impact to empirical evaluations of mechanisms INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE Blaisdell, K. N., Imhof, A. M., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 78: 139-146


    Research on the effects of early life adversity, and in particular on the absence of responsive caregiving, has shown long-term impacts on well-being and development. These investigations have been conducted both in human populations and in animal models. The work has demonstrated that neglect experienced in the early years can affect not only behavior but also neurobiological functioning. In particular, studies of children in the foster care system show convergence with research on children adopted following institutional rearing in terms of dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which produces the neuroendocrine hormone cortisol. The characteristic pattern that has been most commonly observed involves diminished diurnal cortisol production, particularly in terms of low levels of cortisol upon awakening. Notably, however, a number of evidence-based interventions for infant, toddler, and preschool-aged foster children have been shown to produce more typical patterns of cortisol production, in combination with improved behavioral, socioemotional, and foster care placement outcomes. In this paper, we review the literature on the effects of early disruptions in care on biobehavioral development, and summarize the results of the interventions for young foster children.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2019.06.008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000496868500018

    View details for PubMedID 31254597

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6824940

  • Brief, computerized inhibitory control training to leverage adolescent neural plasticity: A pilot effectiveness trial APPLIED NEUROPSYCHOLOGY-CHILD Beauchamp, K. G., Shaffer, K. A., Fisher, P. A., Berkman, E. T. 2019; 8 (4): 366-382


    Adolescence is a time of heightened neural plasticity. Many brain networks show protracted development through this period, such as those underlying inhibitory control (IC), a neurocognitive skill implicated in risk-taking and therefore relevant to public health. Although IC appears to be trainable in adults and young children, whether and how IC may be malleable during adolescence is not fully understood. In this pilot RCT, we tested the effects of a school-based IC training paradigm (versus active control) on IC performance and neural function in adolescents (N = 19) aged 15 to 17 recruited from a low-income school district. We also examined the extent to which training effects transferred to a nontrained IC task and real-world risk behavior, as well as potential moderation effects by early adversity exposure. Training altered brain function related to attention during IC preparation and implementation, though it did not alter IC performance in the training group compared to the control group. There was limited evidence of training transfer. Results have implications for translational neuroscience research in adolescents.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/21622965.2018.1495567

    View details for Web of Science ID 000488884300008

    View details for PubMedID 30265572

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6438765

  • The potential of video feedback interventions to improve parent-child interaction skills in parents with intellectual disability CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Hamby, C. M., Lunkenheimer, E. S., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 105
  • Acute stress impairs children's sustained attention with increased vulnerability for children of mothers reporting higher parenting stress DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Roos, L. E., Giuliano, R. J., Beauchamp, K. G., Berkman, E. T., Knight, E. L., Fisher, P. A. 2020; 62 (4): 532-543


    Despite evidence that acute stress impairs attention in adults, there has been minimal research in children. Here, the effects of acute stress on Go/No-go performance were examined in young children (M age = 5.41 years). Given the critical role of the parent-child relationship to children's self-regulatory development, the extent to which parenting stress predicts children's cognitive vulnerability to acute stress and autonomic reactivity was also investigated. A between-groups design (n = 58 stress, n = 26 control) was used with oversampling of the stressor-exposed children to examine individual differences. The Parenting Stress Index and subscales were employed as a measure of parenting stress. Acute stress impaired children's sustained attention, but not inhibitory control. Higher parenting stress was associated with vulnerability to attentional impairment. Parenting distress was also positively associated with sympathetic reactivity to acute stress, but neither sympathetic nor parasympathetic reactivity was associated with attentional impairment. A conceptual model of pathways through which repetitive acute stress may contribute to self-regulatory difficulties is presented, including the potential buffering role of caregivers.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21915

    View details for Web of Science ID 000485951600001

    View details for PubMedID 31502680

  • Oxidative stress in the stress-health relationship: A pilot study in high-risk adolescents Horn, S. R., Leve, L. D., Levitt, P., Fisher, P. A. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. 2019: 47
  • Examining the psychometric properties of the parent daily report-toddler version (PDR-T) INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT DePasquale, C. E., Olson, A., Desjardins, C. D., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C., Gunnar, M. R., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 43 (5): 447-456


    The present study examined the psychometric properties of a brief parent-report daily checklist of toddler behavior (Parent Daily Report - Toddler Version; PDR-T). Data were collected from three groups of 18-36 month-olds who were followed longitudinally for approximately 1 year: 1) internationally adopted children (n = 156), 2) children placed in foster care due to child maltreatment (n = 79), and 3) community comparison children raised by their biological families (n = 80). An exploratory factor analysis of this measure resulted in three factors, measuring aggressive/noncompliant, positive, and distress behaviors. While there were estimation issues with the positive and distress factors, the aggressive/noncompliant factor exhibited invariance across time and groups, and partial invariance between genders. Significant correlations were observed between this factor and measures of externalizing behavior and inhibitory control (r = .26-.56), but not shyness, fearfulness, or negative affect. This provides support for both convergent and discriminant validity. Reliability of this factor was adequate to good across time and group. Results provide preliminary support for the utility, reliability, and consistency of one factor of the PDR-T as an easy parent-report tool to assess daily patterns and changes in child aggressive/noncompliant behavior over time.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0165025419844030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000477644600007

    View details for PubMedID 31937982

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6959486

  • A Parent Treatment Program for Preschoolers With Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial PEDIATRICS Ek, A., Chamberlain, K., Sorjonen, K., Hammar, U., Malek, M., Sandvik, P., Somaraki, M., Nyman, J., Lindberg, L., Nordin, K., Ejderhamn, J., Fisher, P. A., Chamberlain, P., Marcus, C., Nowicka, P. 2019; 144 (2)


    Early obesity treatment seems to be the most effective, but few treatments exist. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of a parent-only treatment program with and without booster sessions (Booster or No Booster) focusing on parenting practices and standard treatment (ST).Families of children 4 to 6 years of age with obesity were recruited from 68 child care centers in Stockholm County and randomly assigned to a parent-only program (10 weeks) with or without boosters (9 months) or to ST. Treatment effects on primary outcomes (BMI z score) and secondary outcomes (BMI and waist circumference) during a 12-month period were examined with linear mixed models. The influence of sociodemographic factors was examined by 3-way interactions. The clinically significant change in BMI z score (-0.5) was assessed with risk ratios.A total of 174 children (mean age: 5.3 years [SD = 0.8]; BMI z score: 3.0 [SD = 0.6], 56% girls) and their parents (60% foreign background; 39% university degree) were included in the analysis (Booster, n = 44; No Booster, n = 43; ST, n = 87). After 12 months, children in the parent-only treatment had a greater reduction in their BMI z score (0.30; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.45 to -0.15) compared with ST (0.07; 95% CI: -0.19 to 0.05). Comparing all 3 groups, improvements in weight status were only seen for the Booster group (-0.54; 95% CI: -0.77 to -0.30). The Booster group was 4.8 times (95% CI: 2.4 to 9.6) more likely to reach a clinically significant reduction of ≥0.5 of the BMI z score compared with ST.A parent-only treatment with boosters outperformed standard care for obesity in preschoolers.

    View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2018-3457

    View details for Web of Science ID 000484366800015

    View details for PubMedID 31300528

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8853645

  • Comparison of Institutionally Reared and Maltreated Children on Socioemotional and Biological Functioning CHILD MALTREATMENT Perry, N. B., DePasquale, C. E., Fisher, P. H., Gunnar, M. R. 2019; 24 (3): 235-243


    The current study compared behavioral and adrenocortical functioning of maltreated (N = 91) and comparably aged (1.5-3 years) institutionally-reared children soon after (1.5-2.5 months) placement in foster care or adoptive homes, respectively. Foster and adoptive parents reported on the children's socioemotional competence and behavior problems, experimenters scored fear and positive affect to laboratory tasks, and diurnal cortisol measures were obtained. We sought to address whether these early contexts, characterized by different types of neglect and deprivation, have differential effects on young children's development. We found little support for the argument that either context results in uniformly poorer functioning soon after removal from adversity. Maltreated children were less fearful and more positive when exposed to both positive and novel events than institutionally-reared children. However, maltreated children were reported to have more behavior problems than did institutionally-reared children, and institutionally-reared children showed more typical declines in cortisol throughout the day than the maltreated children. These findings increase our ability to construct more targeted and effective interventions for these populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077559518823074

    View details for Web of Science ID 000475490900001

    View details for PubMedID 30686060

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6612568

  • Is adolescence the missing developmental link in Microbiome-Gut-Brain axis communication? DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Flannery, J., Callaghan, B., Sharpton, T., Fisher, P., Pfeifer, J. 2019; 61 (5): 783-795


    Gut microbial research has recently opened new frontiers in neuroscience and potentiated novel therapies for mental health problems (Mayer, et al., 2014). Much of our understanding of the gut microbiome's role in brain function and behavior, however, has been largely derived from research on nonhuman animals. Even less is known about how the development of the gut microbiome influences critical periods of neural and behavioral development, particularly adolescence. In this review, we first discuss why the gut microbiome has become increasingly relevant to developmental cognitive neuroscience and provide a synopsis of the known connections of the gut microbiome with social-affective brain function and behavior, specifically highlighting human developmental work when possible. We then focus on adolescence, a key period of neurobiological and social-affective development. Specifically, we review the links between the gut microbiome and six overarching domains of change during adolescence: (a) social processes, (b) motivation and behavior, (c) neural development, (d) cognition, (e) neuroendocrine function, and (f) physical health and wellness. Using a developmental science perspective, we summarize key changes across these six domains to underscore the promise for the gut microbiome to bidirectionally influence and transform adolescent development.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21821

    View details for Web of Science ID 000472514900014

    View details for PubMedID 30690712

  • Childhood adversity, mental health, and oxidative stress: A pilot study PLOS ONE Horn, S. R., Leve, L. D., Levitt, P., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 14 (4): e0215085


    Childhood adversity is a potent risk factor for mental health conditions via disruptions to stress response systems. Dysregulations in oxidative stress systems have been associated with both childhood adversity and several psychological disorders (e.g., major depressive disorder) in adult populations. However, few studies have examined associations between childhood adversity, oxidative stress, and mental health in pediatric populations. Childhood adversity (Adverse Childhood Events [ACE]), oxidative stress [F2t-isoprostanes (IsoPs)], and mental health pathology were assessed in 50 adolescent females recruited primarily through the Department of Youth Services. Standard ordinary least squares regression models were run co-varying for age, race/ethnicity, adolescent nicotine use, study condition, and parent history of ACEs. Adolescents who reported experiencing four or more ACEs had significantly elevated IsoP levels. Further, internalizing symptom scores across diagnoses were significantly associated with elevated IsoPs, whereas no externalizing symptoms scores, except Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, were related to altered oxidative stress. Results indicate that IsoPs may be a global marker of childhood adversity and mental health symptomatology, particularly within internalizing symptom domains. A limitation is that body mass index was not collected for this sample. Future studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings in larger, more diverse samples.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0215085

    View details for Web of Science ID 000465846200005

    View details for PubMedID 31026258

  • A Preliminary Study Investigating Maternal Neurocognitive Mechanisms Underlying a Child-Supportive Parenting Intervention FRONTIERS IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE Giuliani, N. R., Beauchamp, K. G., Noll, L. K., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 13: 16


    Although interventions that promote child-supportive parenting for children have been shown to positively impact caregiving behaviors as well as child behavioral and neurobiological functioning, less is known about which aspects of maternal brain functioning are affected by such interventions. In the present study, we conducted a preliminary evaluation of the impact of the Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND) video coaching program on mothers with at least one child age four or younger. We employed a waitlist control design with pre-post data. Compared to mothers in the control condition (n = 16), mothers who received FIND (n = 16) showed changes in neural measures of inhibitory control and behavioral measures of parenting self-evaluation during a series of functional neuroimaging tasks. Specifically, we found a group by time interaction in clusters in the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and insula for the Correct Stop > Correct Go contrast of the stop signal task (SST), where FIND increased brain activity associated with inhibitory control compared to mothers in the control condition; and FIND increased mothers' endorsement of child-supportive parenting traits in the parenting self-evaluation task (PSET). Exploratory moderators, study limitations, and the implications of these findings for strength-based parenting programs are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000458585000001

    View details for PubMedID 30853903

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6396725

  • General Cognitive Ability as an Early Indicator of Problem Behavior Among Toddlers in Foster Care JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS Olson, A. E., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2019; 40 (2): 144-149


    Children who have experienced maltreatment and subsequent placement in foster care are at increased risk of problem behavior. Increased knowledge of the development of problem behavior in this population, particularly during toddlerhood, can greatly inform preventive intervention efforts. This study examined variability in problem behavior among toddlers entering new foster care placements and identified related child and parenting characteristics.Ninety-one toddlers in foster care (mean = 2.26 years) and their caregivers completed an initial assessment and were reassessed 6 months later. A child's general cognitive ability was assessed via performance on a standardized developmental measure, and child problem behavior, parenting stress, frequency of family routines, and harsh discipline were assessed via caregiver report.Upon entering a new foster care placement and 6 months after placement, respectively, 38% and 25% of the toddlers were within the borderline clinical or clinical range in terms of problem behavior when assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist. There was not a significant difference in problem behavior over this 6-month period, suggesting that problem behavior was quite stable among the toddlers as a group. However, general cognitive ability was a significant predictor of individual differences in change in problem behavior, with toddlers with lower general cognitive ability displaying increased problem behavior over this period.An increased number of toddlers in foster care displayed clinically significant levels of problem behavior, further demonstrating that these children are an extremely high-risk group. The association between general cognitive ability and change in problem behavior highlights the importance of early developmental screenings, which may help identify children at greatest risk of problem behavior and most in need of preventive intervention efforts.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000632

    View details for Web of Science ID 000467813300010

    View details for PubMedID 30444738

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6372318

  • A historical look at theories of change in early childhood education research EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY Schindler, H. S., McCoy, D., Fisher, P. A., Shonkoff, J. P. 2019; 48: 146-154
  • Neuroendocrine and immune pathways from pre- and perinatal stress to substance abuse NEUROBIOLOGY OF STRESS Horn, S. R., Roos, L. E., Berkman, E. T., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 9: 140-150


    Early life adversity is a documented risk factor for substance abuse and addiction. The pre- and perinatal period (i.e., from implantation, through pregnancy, to 6 months of age) is a critical period marked by high biological plasticity and vulnerability, making perinatal stress a particularly robust form of adversity. The neuroendocrine and immune systems are key mechanisms implicated in the transmission of addiction risk. We review animal and human studies that provide preliminary evidence for links between perinatal stress, neuroendocrine and immune dysregulation, and risk for substance abuse and addiction. A translational neuroscience perspective is employed to elucidate pre- and perinatally-induced biological mechanisms linked to addiction and discuss implications for prevention and intervention efforts. Significant evidence supports associations between pre- and perinatal stress and dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune systems as well as links between neuroendocrine/immune functioning and addiction risk. More work is needed to explicitly examine the interplay between pre- and perinatal stress and neuroendocrine/immune disruptions that together heighten substance abuse risk. Future work is needed to fully understand how pre- and perinatal stress induces biological alterations to predispose individuals to higher risk for addiction. Such knowledge will strengthen theoretically-driven and empirically-supported prevention efforts for substance abuse and addiction.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ynstr.2018.09.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000449794300015

    View details for PubMedID 30450380

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6236513

  • Novel insights from the Yellow Light Game: Safe and risky decisions differentially impact adolescent outcome-related brain function NEUROIMAGE de Macks, Z., Flannery, J. E., Peake, S. J., Flournoy, J. C., Mobasser, A., Alberti, S. L., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2018; 181: 568-581


    Changes across the span of adolescence in the adolescent reward system are thought to increase the tendency to take risks. While developmental differences in decision and outcome-related reward processes have been studied extensively, existing paradigms have largely neglected to measure how different types of decisions modulate reward-related outcome processes. We modified an existing decision-making paradigm (the Stoplight Task; Chein et al., 2011) to create a flexible laboratory measure of decision-making and outcome processing, including the ability to assess modulatory effects of safe versus risky decisions on reward-related outcome processes: the Yellow Light Game (YLG). We administered the YLG in the MRI scanner to 81 adolescents, ages 11-17 years, recruited from the community. Results showed that nucleus accumbens activation was enhanced for (1) risky > safe decisions, (2) positive > negative outcomes, and (3) outcomes following safe decisions compared to outcomes following risky decisions, regardless of whether these outcomes were positive or negative. Outcomes following risky decisions (compared to outcomes following safe decisions) were associated with enhanced activity in cortical midline structures. Furthermore, while there were no developmental differences in risk-taking behavior, more pubertally mature adolescents showed enhanced nucleus accumbens activation during positive > negative outcomes. These findings suggest that outcome processing is modulated by the types of decisions made by adolescents and highlight the importance of investigating processes involved in safe as well as risky decisions to better understand the adolescent tendency to take risks.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.058

    View details for Web of Science ID 000445165600050

    View details for PubMedID 29940284

  • Leveraging translational neuroscience to inform early intervention and addiction prevention for children exposed to early life stress NEUROBIOLOGY OF STRESS Roos, L. E., Horn, S., Berkman, E. T., Pears, K., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 9: 231-240


    Substance use and addiction are disproportionately experienced by individuals with a history of exposure to early life stress (ELS), such as maltreatment, domestic violence and parent psychopathology. Unfortunately, extant interventions have mixed effectiveness at improving outcome trajectories for ELS-exposed children, who are often underserved by evidenced-based programs. Here, we employ a translational neuroscience framework to delineate how neuroscience can deepen our understanding of ELS-linked alterations in children's function to inform the development of more targeted, effective early intervention and addiction prevention programs. Candidate neural pathways altered by ELS and linked to addiction are described across sensory, affective, motivational, and executive function domains. Next, we provide an example of the application of translational neuroscience principles in a family of early interventions (i.e. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care - Preschool, Kids in Transition to School) focused on improving self-regulation in ELS-exposed children. Future directions and areas of unmet need in intervention research detail the significant potential of translational neuroscience to advance interventionists' ability to support positive adjustment in ELS-exposed children and prevent harmful addiction outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ynstr.2018.10.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000449794300022

    View details for PubMedID 30450387

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6236514

  • Replication and reproducibility issues in the relationship between C-reactive protein and depression: A systematic review and focused meta-analysis BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND IMMUNITY Horn, S. R., Long, M. M., Nelson, B. W., Allen, N. B., Fisher, P. A., Byrne, M. L. 2018; 73: 85-114


    One of the most common inflammatory markers examined in depression is C-reactive protein (CRP). However, the magnitude of the association between CRP and depression when controlling for potentially confounding factors such as age, sex, socio-economic status, body mass index, medication and other substance use, and medical illness, is unclear. Inconsistencies in other methodological practices, such as sample collection, assaying, and data cleaning and transformation, may contribute to variations in results. We aggregate studies that examined the association between CRP and depression in two ways. First, a systematic review summarizes how studies of CRP and depression have reported on methodological issues. Second, a tiered meta-analysis aggregates studies that have adhered to various levels of methodological rigor. Findings from the systematic review indicate a lack of protocol detail provided. The effect between depression and CRP was small, but highly significant across all stages of the meta-analysis (p < 0.01). The effect size in the most methodologically rigorous stage of the meta-analysis, which included studies controlling for age, sex, obesity, medical conditions and substance, medication, or psychosocial factors, was small (r = 0.05). There were also only 26 articles in this stage (13% of studies from the systematic review), suggesting that more studies that consistently account for these confounding factors are needed. Additionally, an a priori quality score of methodological rigor was a significant moderator in this stage of the meta-analysis. The effect size was strikingly attenuated (r = 0.005) and non-significant in studies with higher quality scores. We describe a set of recommended guidelines for future research to consider, including sample collection and assaying procedures, data cleaning and statistical methods, and control variables to assess.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.06.016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000445440900008

    View details for PubMedID 29928963

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6800199

  • Video Feedback Intervention With Children: A Systematic Review RESEARCH ON SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE Balldin, S., Fisher, P. A., Wirtberg, I. 2018; 28 (6): 682-695
  • Examining morning HPA axis activity as a moderator of hostile, over-reactive parenting on children's skills for success in school INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT Lipscomb, S. T., Becker, D. R., Laurent, H., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Natsuaki, M. N., Reiss, D., Fisher, P. A., Leve, L. D. 2018; 27 (4)


    This study examined children's morning HPA axis activation as a moderator of links between hostile, over-reactive parenting at age 4.5 years and children's skills for success in school (higher executive function and literacy, and less externalizing behavior) at age 6. Participants included 361 adoptive families. Parenting was self-reported. HPA axis activation was measured by basal levels in morning cortisol. Executive function and literacy were assessed via standardized tasks. Externalizing behavior was reported by teachers. Results indicated that hostile, over-reactive parenting predicted more externalizing behavior and lower executive functioning regardless of children's morning HPA axis activation. HPA axis activation moderated the effects of hostile, over-reactive parenting on literacy. Among children with moderate to high morning HPA axis activation (approximately 60% of the sample), harsh parenting was linked with lower literacy; children with low morning HPA axis activation exhibited better literacy in the context of more hostile, over-reactive parenting. Yet, across the sample, hostile, over-reactive parenting remained in the low to moderate range, not in the high range. Findings are discussed in the context of considering not only whether children's stress system activation moderates responses to their environments, but also how these processes operate for different developmental outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/icd.2083

    View details for Web of Science ID 000440923300001

    View details for PubMedID 30147452

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6107075

  • Behavioral and neural correlates of parenting self-evaluation in mothers of young children SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE Noll, L. K., Giuliani, N. R., Beauchamp, K. G., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 13 (5): 535-545
  • Effects of a school readiness intervention on hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning and school adjustment for children in foster care. Development and psychopathology Graham, A. M., Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 30 (2): 651-664


    Maltreated children in foster care are at high risk for dysregulated hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning and educational difficulties. The present study examined the effects of a short-term school readiness intervention on HPA axis functioning in response to the start of kindergarten, a critical transition marking entry to formal schooling, and whether altered HPA axis functioning influenced children's school adjustment. Compared to a foster care comparison group, children in the intervention group showed a steeper diurnal cortisol slope on the first day of school, a pattern previously observed among nonmaltreated children. A steeper first day of school diurnal cortisol slope predicted teacher ratings of better school adjustment (i.e., academic performance, appropriate classroom behaviors, and engagement in learning) in the fall of kindergarten. Furthermore, the children's HPA axis response to the start of school mediated the effect of the intervention on school adjustment. These findings support the potential for ameliorative effects of interventions targeting critical transitional periods, such as the transition of formal schooling. This school readiness intervention appears to influence stress neurobiology, which in turn facilitates positive engagement with the school environment and better school adjustment in children who have experienced significant early adversity.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579417001171

    View details for PubMedID 28918760

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5857473

  • Behavioral and neural correlates of parenting self-evaluation in mothers of young children. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience Noll, L. K., Giuliani, N. R., Beauchamp, K. G., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 13 (5): 535-545


    In this study, we utilized a novel fMRI paradigm to examine the behavioral and neural correlates of parenting self-evaluation in a sample of mothers with at least one child under the age of 4 (N = 37). Prior self-report, behavioral and observational research document the implications of parenting self-evaluations for parent well-being and caregiving behavior; however, relatively little is known about the neural circuitry underlying these self-referential processes and to what extent they are influenced by caregiving experience. Although neuroimaging paradigms indexing other aspects of parental function exist, this is the first to use functional neuroimaging to study parenting self-evaluation in a controlled laboratory setting. We found parenting self-evaluations elicited significantly greater activity across most cortical midline structures, including the medial prefrontal cortex compared to control evaluations; these findings converge with previous work on the neural underpinning of general trait self-evaluation. Notable differences by parity were observed in exploratory analyses: specifically, primiparous mothers endorsed a higher number of developmentally supportive traits, exhibited faster reaction times, and showed a greater difference in mPFC activity when making self-evaluations of developmentally supportive traits than of developmentally unsupportive traits, compared to multiparous mothers. Implications of these findings and study limitations are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsy031

    View details for PubMedID 29718429

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6007508

  • Effects of a school readiness intervention on hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning and school adjustment for children in foster care DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Graham, A. M., Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 30 (2): 651-664
  • Polyvictimization and externalizing symptoms in foster care children: The moderating role of executive function. Journal of trauma & dissociation : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) Horn, S. R., Roos, L. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Flannery, J. E., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 19 (3): 307-324


    Prior research has identified the role of childhood maltreatment in externalizing problems and executive function (EF) deficits, but minimal work has been done to characterize the effects of co-occurring maltreatment types, defined as polyvictimization. Here, we sought to characterize the association between polyvictimization and externalizing problems in a sample of foster care children aged 3-4 years (N = 84) and examine how EF may mediate or moderate that relationship. A moderation model was supported in that only polyvictimized children with EF scores 1.62 or more standard deviations below the mean were at heightened risk for clinically severe externalizing problems, while no association between polyvictimization and externalizing problems were observed for children who scored at the mean or above on the EF measure. Findings highlight that EF may serve as a resilience factor indicating that individual differences in polyvictimized children's EF skills help to predict variability in externalizing problems. Future research on designing and optimizing intervention programs that target EF skills may mitigate the development of maladaptive outcomes for polyvictimized children.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/15299732.2018.1441353

    View details for PubMedID 29547079

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6774668

  • Children's biological responsivity to acute stress predicts concurrent cognitive performance STRESS-THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS Roos, L. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Giuliano, R., Zalewski, M., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 21 (4): 347-354


    Although prior research has characterized stress system reactivity (i.e. hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, HPAA; autonomic nervous system, ANS) in children, it has yet to examine the extent to which biological reactivity predicts concurrent goal-directed behavior. Here, we employed a stressor paradigm that allowed concurrent assessment of both stress system reactivity and performance on a speeded-response task to investigate the links between biological reactivity and cognitive function under stress. We further investigated gender as a moderator given previous research suggesting that the ANS may be particularly predictive of behavior in males due to gender differences in socialization. In a sociodemographically diverse sample of young children (N = 58, M age = 5.38 yrs; 44% male), individual differences in sociodemographic covariates (age, household income), HPAA (i.e. cortisol), and ANS (i.e. respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA, indexing the parasympathetic branch; pre-ejection period, PEP, indexing the sympathetic branch) function were assessed as predictors of cognitive performance under stress. We hypothesized that higher income, older age, and greater cortisol reactivity would be associated with better performance overall, and flexible ANS responsivity (i.e. RSA withdrawal, PEP shortening) would be predictive of performance for males. Overall, females performed better than males. Two-group SEM analyses suggest that, for males, greater RSA withdrawal to the stressor was associated with better performance, while for females, older age, higher income, and greater cortisol reactivity were associated with better performance. Results highlight the relevance of stress system reactivity to cognitive performance under stress. Future research is needed to further elucidate for whom and in what situations biological reactivity predicts goal-directed behavior.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/10253890.2018.1458087

    View details for Web of Science ID 000442694000007

    View details for PubMedID 29631452

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6774666

  • Improving kindergarten readiness in children with developmental disabilities: Changes in neural correlates of response monitoring APPLIED NEUROPSYCHOLOGY-CHILD McDermott, J., Pears, K. C., Bruce, J., Kim, H. K., Roos, L., Yoerger, K. L., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 7 (3): 187-199
  • Polyvictimization and externalizing symptoms in foster care children: The moderating role of executive function JOURNAL OF TRAUMA & DISSOCIATION Horn, S. R., Roos, L. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Flannery, J. E., Fisher, P. A. 2018; 19 (3): 307-324
  • Conceptual precision is key in acute stress research: A commentary on Shields, Sazma, & Yonelinas, 2016 NEUROSCIENCE AND BIOBEHAVIORAL REVIEWS Roos, L. E., Knight, E. L., Beauchamp, K. G., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A., Berkman, E. T. 2017; 83: 140-144
  • Conceptual precision is key in acute stress research: A commentary on Shields, Sazma, & Yonelinas, 2016. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews Roos, L. E., Knight, E. L., Beauchamp, K. G., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A., Berkman, E. T. 2017; 83: 140-144


    A recent meta-analytic review by Shields, Sazma, & Yonelinas (2016) brings to the fore several conceptual issues within the stress and executive function (EF) literatures. We present a critique of these issues, using the review as an exemplar of how stress and EF are often examined empirically. The review summarizes research suggesting that EF is not only trait-like, but can be also state-like, influenced by factors such as acute stress. It has numerous strengths including its scope in examining EF across domains, inclusion of moderators, and timeliness, given the rapidly expanding field of stress research. We argue that the conclusions would be less equivocal with a more precise and neurally-informed consideration of EF, stressor, and timing assessments. A detailed discussion of these issues is provided, using the inhibition EF domain as an example, in order to illustrate key limitations and potential consequences of broad inclusion criteria. We endeavor to promote precise, shared definitions in the service of delineating a more complete and consistent account of acute stress effects on EF.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.10.005

    View details for PubMedID 28988779

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5840802

  • Cost effectiveness of a school readiness intervention for foster children CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Lynch, F. L., Dickerson, J. F., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 81: 63-71
  • Cost Effectiveness of a School Readiness Intervention for Foster Children. Children and youth services review Lynch, F. L., Dickerson, J. F., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 81: 63-71


    Many young children in foster care suffer from emotional and behavior problems due to neglect and abuse. These problems can lead to difficulties in school, and functioning in school is linked to long-term health and development. Early intervention to reduce emotional and behavioral issues can help children successfully transition to school, which can improve long-term outcomes. However, communities need information on relative costs and benefits associated with programs to make informed choices. The objective of this study was to assess cost effectiveness, over 12 months, of the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) intervention compared to usual services available to children in a foster care control group (FCC).Randomized controlled trial of 192 children in foster care entering kindergarten who were randomized to KITS (n = 102) or FCC (n = 90). KITS includes school readiness groups and parent training over 4 months. Main outcomes were days free from internalizing symptoms (IFD), days free from externalizing behavior (EFD), intervention costs, public agency costs, and incremental cost effectiveness.KITS significantly increased IFD and EFD compared to FCC. Average total cost of the intervention was $932 per family. The intervention did not significantly impact usual services. Average incremental cost effectiveness was $64 per IFD and $63 per EFD.The cost of KITS is comparable to, or less than, similar programs, and the intervention is likely to provide significant emotional and behavioral benefits and improvements in school readiness for young children in foster care.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.07.011

    View details for PubMedID 29276324

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5737933

  • From Innovation to Impact at Scale: Lessons Learned From a Cluster of Research-Community Partnerships CHILD DEVELOPMENT Schindler, H. S., Fisher, P. A., Shonkoff, J. P. 2017; 88 (5): 1435-1446

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.12904

    View details for Web of Science ID 000409182100004

  • From Innovation to Impact at Scale: Lessons Learned From a Cluster of Research-Community Partnerships. Child development Schindler, H. S., Fisher, P. A., Shonkoff, J. P. 2017; 88 (5): 1435-1446


    This article presents a description of how an interdisciplinary network of academic researchers, community-based programs, parents, and state agencies have joined together to design, test, and scale a suite of innovative intervention strategies rooted in new knowledge about the biology of adversity. Through a process of cocreation, collective pilot testing, and the support of a measurement and evaluation hub, the Washington Innovation Cluster is using rapid cycle iterative learning to elucidate differential impacts of interventions designed to build child and caregiver capacities and address the developmental consequences of socioeconomic disadvantage. Key characteristics of the Innovation Cluster model are described and an example is presented of a video-coaching intervention that has been implemented, adapted, and evaluated through this distinctive collaborative process.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.12904

    View details for PubMedID 28777436

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5583016

  • Commentary: Is there a there there in hair? A reflection on child maltreatment and hair cortisol concentrations in White et al. (2017). Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines Fisher, P. A. 2017; 58 (9): 1008-1010


    Both chronic and acute stressors have typically been understood to produce elevations in cortisol, as a means to maintaining homeostatic balance. In the past two decades, however, individuals experiencing high levels of chronic early adversity have been shown to manifest an alternate profile involving blunted cortisol levels. In the context of this emerging evidence, a number of questions about diminished cortisol have remained unclear. The study by White et al. (2017) is the first to measure hair cortisol concentrations in the context of adversity, and provides validation for the stability of diminished cortisol in maltreated individuals, the association between neglect and low cortisol, and a mediating role for dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in the association between early maltreatment and behavioral dysregulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jcpp.12719

    View details for PubMedID 28836676

  • Commentary: Is there a there there in hair? A reflection on child maltreatment and hair cortisol concentrations in White et al. (2017) JOURNAL OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY Fisher, P. A. 2017; 58 (9): 1008-1010

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jcpp.12719

    View details for Web of Science ID 000408316100007

  • Preliminary evidence of the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on neural patterns of response inhibition in early adolescence DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE Jankowski, K. F., Bruce, J., Beauchamp, K. G., Roos, L. E., Moore, W. E., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 20 (4)

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12413

    View details for Web of Science ID 000403010400009

  • Preliminary evidence of the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on neural patterns of response inhibition in early adolescence. Developmental science Jankowski, K. F., Bruce, J., Beauchamp, K. G., Roos, L. E., Moore, W. E., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 20 (4)


    Maltreated youths in foster care often experience negative developmental and psychological outcomes, which have been linked with poor response inhibition. Recent evidence suggests that childhood maltreatment is also associated with alterations in the neural circuitry underlying response inhibition. However, a burgeoning line of research has begun to explore the mitigating effects of preventive interventions on neural functioning. The current study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on response inhibition in early adolescence. Thirty-six demographically similar adolescents (ages 9-14 years) completed a Go/NoGo task. The sample included nonmaltreated adolescents (n = 14) and maltreated adolescents who were in foster care as preschoolers and randomly assigned to receive services as usual (n = 11) or a preventive intervention, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (n = 11). The groups demonstrated similar behavioral performance but significantly different neural patterns. The maltreated adolescents who received services as usual demonstrated subcortical hypoactivity during successful response inhibition and subcortical hyperactivity during unsuccessful response inhibition. In contrast, the nonmaltreated adolescents and maltreated adolescents who received the intervention exhibited strikingly similar neural patterns during successful response inhibition, but the maltreated adolescents who received the intervention demonstrated prefrontal hypoactivity during unsuccessful response inhibition. These findings offer preliminary evidence that early childhood maltreatment alters the neural patterns underlying response inhibition in early adolescence and that participating in a preventive intervention could mitigate maltreatment-related effects on these neural systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12413

    View details for PubMedID 27061609

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5055407

  • The Imaginary Companions Created by Children Who Have Lived in Foster Care. Imagination, cognition and personality Aguiar, N. R., Mottweilier, C. M., Taylor, M., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 36 (4): 340-355


    This study was designed to provide some preliminary information about the imaginary companions created by children who have lived in foster care, including prevalence rates and qualitative descriptions of the imaginary companions. We were also interested in how descriptions of the imaginary companions created by children who had lived in foster care compare to those of other children. Children with a history of foster care (n =21) and children from a low socioeconomic status community sample (n =39) were interviewed about imaginary companions. Twenty-six children (43.3%) reported having imaginary companions. Although having an imaginary companion has sometimes been believed to be more common in children with a history of maltreatment, in this preliminary study, prevalence rates did not differ between the two groups of children. In addition, both groups of children described companions that were a positive source of entertainment, friendship, and social support.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0276236617700590

    View details for PubMedID 29097831

  • Social-learning parenting intervention research in the era of translational neuroscience. Current opinion in psychology Fisher, P. A., Skowron, E. A. 2017; 15: 168-173


    In the decades since social learning parenting interventions emerged, many evidence-based programs have been implemented at scale in community settings, and much research is now focusing on ways to maintain fidelity and impact during the implementation process. Notably, a considerable amount of theoretical confluence has occurred in parenting interventions from social learning, attachment, and other theoretical perspectives, with parent coaching as an example of this new generation of relational interventions. In addition, research examining the neurobiological effects of early adverse experiences is providing insight into key mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of social learning parenting interventions, and new strategies for tailoring interventions to the needs of specific populations are being developed, making interventions more efficient, precise, and effective.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.02.017

    View details for PubMedID 28813257

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5559885

  • Social-learning parenting intervention research in the era of translational neuroscience CURRENT OPINION IN PSYCHOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Skowron, E. A. 2017; 15: 168-173
  • Acute stress impairs inhibitory control based on individual differences in parasympathetic nervous system activity BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY Roos, L. E., Knight, E. L., Beauchamp, K. G., Berkman, E. T., Faraday, K., Hyslop, K., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 125: 58-63


    Identifying environmental influences on inhibitory control (IC) may help promote positive behavioral and social adjustment. Although chronic stress is known to predict lower IC, the immediate effects of acute stress are unknown. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) may be a mechanism of the stress-IC link, given its psychophysiological regulatory role and connections to prefrontal brain regions critical to IC. We used a focused assessment of IC (the stop-signal task) to test whether an acute social stressor (the Trier Social Stress Test) affected participants' pre- to post-IC performance (n=58), compared to a control manipulation (n=31). High frequency heart-rate variability was used as an index of PNS activity in response to the manipulation. Results indicated that stress impaired IC performance, blocking the practice effects observed in control participants. We also investigated the associations between PNS activity and IC; higher resting PNS activity predicted better pre-manipulation IC, and greater PNS stressor reactivity protected against the negative effects of stress on IC. Together, these results are the first to document the immediate effects of acute stress on IC and a phenotypic marker (PNS reactivity to stressors) of susceptibility to stress-induced IC impairment. This study suggests a new way to identify situations in which individuals are likely to exhibit IC vulnerability and related consequences such as impulsivity and risk taking behavior. Targeting PNS regulation may represent a novel target for IC-focused interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.03.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000401389700006

    View details for PubMedID 28268165

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5448703

  • Validation of autonomic and endocrine reactivity to a laboratory stressor in young children PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Roos, L. E., Giuliano, R. J., Beauchamp, K. G., Gunnar, M., Amiclon, B., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 77: 51-55
  • Validation of autonomic and endocrine reactivity to a laboratory stressor in young children. Psychoneuroendocrinology Roos, L. E., Giuliano, R. J., Beauchamp, K. G., Gunnar, M., Amidon, B., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 77: 51-55


    The validation of laboratory paradigms that reliably induce a stress response [including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system (ANS) activation], is critical for understanding how children's stress-response systems support emotional and cognitive function. Early childhood research to date is markedly limited, given the difficulty in establishing paradigms that reliably induce a cortisol response. Furthermore, research to date has not included a control condition or examined concurrent ANS reactivity. We addressed these limitations by characterizing the extent to which a modified matching task stressor paradigm induces HPA and ANS activation, beyond a closely matched control condition. Modifications include an unfamiliar and unfriendly assessor to increase the stressful nature of the task. Results validate the matching task as a laboratory stressor, with significant differences in HPA and ANS responsivity between conditions. The Stressor group exhibited a cortisol increase post-stressor, while the Control group was stable over time. Children in both conditions exhibited reduced parasympathetic activity to the first-half of the task, but in the second-half, only children in the Stressor condition, who were experiencing exaggerated signals of failure, exhibited further parasympathetic decline. The Stressor condition induced higher sympathetic activity (versus Control) throughout the task, with exaggerated second-half differences. Within the Stressor condition, responsivity was convergent across systems, with greater cortisol reactivity correlated with the magnitude of parasympathetic withdrawal and sympathetic engagement. Future research employing the matching task will facilitate understanding the role of HPA and ANS function in development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.11.023

    View details for PubMedID 28024268

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5391174

  • Improving kindergarten readiness in children with developmental disabilities: Changes in neural correlates of response monitoring. Applied neuropsychology. Child McDermott, J. M., Pears, K. C., Bruce, J., Kim, H. K., Roos, L., Yoerger, K. L., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 7 (3): 187-199


    Among children diagnosed with developmental delays, difficulties in self-regulation are prominent and have been linked to school readiness problems. The current study sought to examine the impact of the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) school readiness intervention program on self-regulation, with a specific focus on response monitoring skills, among children with developmental delays. Children (n = 20 in the KITS group and n = 21 in a services as usual group) were administered a flanker task during which event-related potential data were collected to examine group differences in response monitoring. Findings indicated that children in the KITS group showed significant enhancement of a neural index of response monitoring post-intervention. Specifically, the KITS group showed a significant change in the magnitude of their feedback-related negativity in response to negative performance feedback from baseline to post-intervention, whereas children in the services as usual group did not. There were no significant differences between the groups for the error-related negativity or the error-related positivity on incorrect trials nor were there group differences in behavioral performance on the task at the post-intervention assessment. Overall, these findings provide support for the plasticity of response monitoring skills in young children and support the growing literature demonstrating improved self-regulation outcomes via intervention that enhances children's response monitoring.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/21622965.2017.1286239

    View details for PubMedID 28631968

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6774671

  • Beliefs and Behaviors of Pregnant Women with Addictions Awaiting Treatment Initiation CHILD AND ADOLESCENT SOCIAL WORK JOURNAL Van Scoyoc, A., Harrison, J., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 34 (1): 65-79
  • The role of social buffering on chronic disruptions in quality of care: evidence from caregiver-based interventions in foster children. Social neuroscience Flannery, J. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 12 (1): 86-91


    There is growing evidence that social support can buffer the physiological stress response, specifically cortisol reactivity. We use a developmental framework to review the importance of social buffering in early childhood, a period of heightened plasticity for programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The social environment, in which parents play the largest role in early life, is a critical agent in the developmental trajectory of the HPA axis. A prevailing model of social buffering primarily focuses on the role of social support in the context of acute stressors and cortisol response. This review expands this model to provide evidence of the mechanism of social buffering, or lack thereof, across periods of chronic stress by applying the social buffer model to children involved in the child welfare system. We also highlight current interventions that capitalize on the mechanism of social buffering to modify HPA axis functioning across childhood. Last, we synthesize our findings using the social buffering framework to inform future targeted interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/17470919.2016.1170725

    View details for PubMedID 27021231

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5372832

  • Beliefs and Behaviors of Pregnant Women with Addictions Awaiting Treatment Initiation. Child & adolescent social work journal : C & A Van Scoyoc, A., Harrison, J. A., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 34 (1): 65-79


    Substance use during pregnancy poses clear risks to children's healthy development. However, women with addictions face unique barriers to accessing substance abuse treatment and often delay or avoid treatment seeking. The objective of this study was to examine women's beliefs about the impact of use on the developing baby and to examine the protective behaviors that women with addictions engage in during the period of time between when they first find out they are pregnant and when they begin substance abuse treatment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 women who were either pregnant or postpartum and who had used illicit substances during pregnancy. All participants were currently receiving inpatient substance abuse treatment services to address their addiction and were asked to retrospectively report on their experiences. Interviews were transcribed, imported into a qualitative data analysis software, and iteratively coded for themes. Women reported being concerned about the impact of substance use on the developing baby, in particular, about the physical and long-term developmental consequences of prenatal exposure. Given these concerns, women described trying to protect the baby from harm on their own, outside of accessing traditional treatment services. They sought information anonymously, increased their engagement in health-promoting behaviors, and decreased their use of alcohol and other drugs. The results suggest that women who use alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy are often motivated to protect their baby from harm and are engaging in harm reduction behaviors prior to accessing treatment services.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10560-016-0474-0

    View details for PubMedID 31588163

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6777720

  • Effects of prenatal substance exposure on neurocognitive correlates of inhibitory control success and failure APPLIED NEUROPSYCHOLOGY-CHILD Roos, L. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Berkman, E. T., Capaldi, D. 2017; 6 (4): 269-280


    Adolescents with prenatal substance (drug and alcohol) exposure exhibit inhibitory control (IC) deficits and aberrations in associated neural function. Nearly all research to date examines exposure to individual substances, and a minimal amount is known about the effects of heterogeneous exposure-which is more representative of population exposure levels. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated IC (Go/NoGo) in heterogeneously exposed (n = 7) vs. control (n = 7) at-risk adolescents (ages 13-17). The fMRI results indicated multiple IC processing differences consistent with a more immature developmental profile for exposed adolescents (Exposed  >  Nonexposed: NoGo > Go: right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, right cuneus, and left inferior parietal lobe; NoGo > false alarm: occipital lobe; Go > false alarm: right anterior prefrontal cortex). Simple effects suggest exposed adolescents exhibited exaggerated correct trial but decreased incorrect trial activation. Results provide initial evidence that prenatal exposure across substances creates similar patterns of atypical brain activation to IC success and failure.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/21622965.2016.1159561

    View details for Web of Science ID 000413706600004

    View details for PubMedID 27261058

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5136349

  • The role of social buffering on chronic disruptions in quality of care: evidence from caregiver-based interventions in foster children SOCIAL NEUROSCIENCE Flannery, J. E., Beauchamp, K. G., Fisher, P. A. 2017; 12 (1): 86-91
  • Effects of a video feedback parent training program during child welfare visitation CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Nese, R. T., Anderson, C. M., Ruppert, T., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 71: 266-276
  • Effects of a video feedback parent training program during child welfare visitation. Children and youth services review Nese, R. N., Anderson, C. M., Ruppert, T., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 71: 266-276


    Behavioral parent training programs have documented efficacy for improving behaviors among parents and their children and are frequently used by child welfare agencies to prevent removal of a child from the parental home or to facilitate reunification. Although an ideal time for parent training might be during supervised visits where parents may practice skills with their children under the guidance and support of a therapist or caseworker, this is not typically the case. Most often, parents within the child welfare system receive parent training in small groups without their children present, and to date, few studies have examined effects of behavioral parent training interventions during supervised visitation. In this study, concurrent multiple baseline across behaviors design was used to examine effects of a behavioral parent training program, Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND), on parental skill acquisition with four mothers who had lost custody of their children but were being considered for reunification. Children emitted little or no problem behaviors during baseline or intervention, so parenting behavior was the primary dependent variable. Results obtained across participants documented a clear functional relation between implementation of the FIND intervention and increases in developmentally supportive parenting behaviors. Results of social validity and contextual fit measures suggest the intervention was perceived by mothers to be positive, feasible, and appropriate within the child welfare context. Practical and conceptual implications, limitations of this study, and directions for future research are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.11.007

    View details for PubMedID 28936018

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5604245

  • Promoting Healthy Child Development via a Two-Generation Translational Neuroscience Framework: The Filming Interactions to Nurture Development Video Coaching Program. Child development perspectives Fisher, P. A., Frenkel, T. I., Noll, L. K., Berry, M., Yockelson, M. 2016; 10 (4): 251-256


    In this article, we focus on applying methods of translational neuroscience to two-generation, family-based interventions. In recent years, a small but growing body of evidence has documented the reversibility of some of the neurobiological effects of early adversity in the context of environmental early interventions. Some of these interventions are now being implemented at scale, which may help reduce disparities in the face of early life stress. Further progress may occur by extending these efforts to two-generation models that target caregivers' capabilities to improve children's outcomes. In this article, we describe the content and processes of the Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND) video coaching intervention. We also discuss the two-generation, translational neuroscience framework on which FIND is based, and how similar approaches can be developed and scaled to mitigate the effects of adversity.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12195

    View details for PubMedID 28936231

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5603284

  • Promoting Healthy Child Development via a Two-Generation Translational Neuroscience Framework: The Filming Interactions to Nurture Development Video Coaching Program CHILD DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES Fisher, P. A., Frenkel, T. I., Noll, L. K., Berry, M., Yockelson, M. 2016; 10 (4): 251-256

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdep.12195

    View details for Web of Science ID 000387138500008

  • Children's executive function in a CPS-involved sample: Effects of cumulative adversity and specific types of adversity CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Roos, L. E., Kim, H. K., Schnabler, S., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 71: 184-190


    Prior research has identified the presence of executive function (EF) deficits in child protective service (CPS) involved (versus non-involved) children but minimal work has examined predictors that might explain individual differences within these CPS-involved children. Here, we sought to characterize EF in a large sample (N=694) of CPS-involved children and examine how specific adversities (physical abuse, neglect, caregiver domestic violence, and caregiver substance dependence) and cumulative adversity (at ages 0-3 and 3-6 years) predict EF (at approximately 5-6 years). It was expected that the sample would exhibit low EF overall based on previous research in maltreated children. Specific adversity and cumulative adversity analyses were largely exploratory given the limited previous work in this area. Results indicated poor EF overall, with 43.5% of children performing worse than chance. Amongst children who performed greater than chance, higher cumulative adversity, physical abuse, and caregiver substance use (at ages 3-6 years) predicted better EF. These findings join literature documenting that, within CPS-involved children, the presence of certain adversities predicts variable cognitive function. Findings highlight the potential relevance of evolutionary psychology to understanding how alterations in behavior linked to harsh and unpredictable early environments may cue accelerated brain development underlying relative cognitive advantages, within at-risk, low performing samples. Longitudinal studies are critical to determine if the relative EF advantages linked to higher adversity persist over time or result in lower EF later on, reflecting a more rapid, but overall limited, trajectory of cognitive development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.11.008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000390642400023

    View details for PubMedID 28626280

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5472387

  • Nutritional status of foster children in the US: Implications for cognitive and behavioral development CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Tooley, U. A., Makhoul, Z., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 70: 369-374
  • Nutritional status of foster children in the U.S.: Implications for cognitive and behavioral development. Children and youth services review Tooley, U. A., Makhoul, Z., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 70: 369-374


    Children in foster care are at greater risk for poor health, physical, cognitive, behavioral, and developmental outcomes than are children in the general population. Considerable research links early nutrition to later cognitive and behavioral outcomes. The aim of this narrative review is to examine the prevalence of poor nutrition and its relation to subsequent health and development in foster children.Relevant studies for inclusion were identified from numerous sources (e.g., PubMed, Google Scholar, and reference sections). Inclusion criteria were studies published between 1990 and 2016 of (i) the nutritional status of children in foster care or (ii) the nutritional status of children exposed to early adversity (e.g., low-income and internationally adopted children) or (iii) the developmental effects of poor nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.Two key findings that have adverse implications for cognitive development emerged: (i) the prevalence of anemia and iron-deficiency anemia is higher among foster children than among the general population of children in the U.S., and (ii) the developmental demands of catch-up growth post-placement may lead to micronutrient deficiencies even after children have begun sufficient dietary intake of these nutrients. Moreover, there is a paucity of recent studies on the nutritional status of children in foster care, despite the multiple factors that may place them at risk for malnutrition.Attention to nutritional status among care providers and medical professionals may remove one of the possible negative influences on foster children's development and in turn significantly alter their trajectories and place them on a more positive path early in life. Recommendations for further research, policy, and practice are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.10.027

    View details for PubMedID 28626279

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5472390

  • Increasing pre-kindergarten early literacy skills in children with developmental disabilities and delays JOURNAL OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A., Yoerger, K. 2016; 57: 15-27
  • Increasing pre-kindergarten early literacy skills in children with developmental disabilities and delays. Journal of school psychology Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A., Yoerger, K. 2016; 57: 15-27


    Two hundred and nine children receiving early childhood special education services for developmental disabilities or delays who also had behavioral, social, or attentional difficulties were included in a study of an intervention to increase school readiness, including early literacy skills. Results showed that the intervention had a significant positive effect on children's literacy skills from baseline to the end of summer before the start of kindergarten (d=.14). The intervention also had significant indirect effects on teacher ratings of children's literacy skills during the fall of their kindergarten year (β=.09). Additionally, when scores were compared to standard benchmarks, a greater percentage of the children who received the intervention moved from being at risk for reading difficulties to having low risk. Overall, this study demonstrates that a school readiness intervention delivered prior to the start of kindergarten may help increase children's early literacy skills.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsp.2016.05.004

    View details for PubMedID 27425563

  • Intersections between cardiac physiology, emotion regulation and interpersonal warmth in preschoolers: Implications for drug abuse prevention from translational neuroscience Clark, C. C., Skowron, E. A., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A. ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD. 2016: S60-S69
  • Intersections between cardiac physiology, emotion regulation and interpersonal warmth in preschoolers: Implications for drug abuse prevention from translational neuroscience. Drug and alcohol dependence Clark, C. A., Skowron, E. A., Giuliano, R. J., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 163 Suppl 1: S60-9


    Early childhood is characterized by dramatic gains in emotion regulation skills that support social adjustment and mental health. Understanding the physiological substrates of healthy emotion regulation may offer new directions for altering trajectories toward initiation and escalation of substance abuse. Here, we describe the intersections between parasympathetic and sympathetic tone, emotion regulation and prosocial behavior in a high-risk sample of preschoolers.Fifty-two 3-6 year old children completed an assessment of attention regulation in response to affective stimuli. Cardiac respiratory sinus arrhythmia, an index of parasympathetic tone, and pre-ejection period, a marker of sympathetic activation, were recorded at rest and while children engaged in social interactions with their mothers and an unfamiliar research assistant. Mothers reported on children's emotional reactivity and prosocial behavior.Controlling for age and psychosocial risk, higher parasympathetic tone predicted better attention regulation in response to angry emotion and higher levels of prosocial behavior, whereas a reciprocal pattern of higher parasympathetic tone and lower sympathetic arousal predicted better attention in response to positive emotion and lower emotional reactivity. Children exposed to fewer risk factors and higher levels of maternal warmth were more able to sustain a high level of parasympathetic tone during interaction episodes.Findings suggest that autonomic measures represent biomarkers for socio-emotional competence in young children. They also point to the importance of early experiences in the establishment of physiological regulation and the promise of family-based intervention to promote healthy emotion regulation and prevent substance dependence in high-risk populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.033

    View details for PubMedID 27306733

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4911543

  • Decreasing risk factors for later alcohol use and antisocial behaviors in children in foster care by increasing early promotive factors CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 65: 156-165
  • Differential sensitization of parenting on early adolescent cortisol: Moderation by profiles of maternal stress PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Martin, C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 67: 18-26


    The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a critical component of the body's stress-response neurobiological system, and its development and functioning are shaped by the social environment. Much of our understanding of the effects of the caregiving environment on the HPA axis is based on (a) parenting in young children and (b) individual maternal stressors, such as depression. Yet, less is known about how parenting behaviors and maternal stressors interact to influence child cortisol regulation, particularly in older children. With an ethnically diverse sample of 199 mothers and their early adolescent children (M=11.00years; 54% female), a profile analytic approach was used to investigate how multiple phenotypes of maternal stress co-occur and moderate the relation between parenting behaviors and youths' diurnal cortisol rhythms. Latent profile analysis yielded 4 profiles: current parenting stress, concurrent parenting and childhood stress, childhood stress, and low stress. For mothers with the concurrent parenting and childhood stress profile, inconsistent discipline, poor parental supervision, and harsh caregiving behaviors each were related to flattened diurnal cortisol rhythms in their adolescents. For mothers with the current parenting stress and childhood stress profiles, their use of inconsistent discipline was associated with flattened diurnal cortisol rhythms in their adolescents. For mothers with the low stress profile, none of the parenting behaviors was related to their adolescents' cortisol regulation. Findings suggest that based on mothers' stress profile, parenting behaviors are differentially related to youths' diurnal cortisol rhythms. Implications for parenting interventions are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.01.025

    View details for Web of Science ID 000374603300003

    View details for PubMedID 26859701

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4820398

  • Decreasing Risk Factors for Later Alcohol Use and Antisocial Behaviors in Children in Foster Care by Increasing Early Promotive Factors. Children and youth services review Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2016; 65: 156-165


    Children in foster care are at high risk for poor psychosocial outcomes, including school failure, alcohol and other substance abuse, and criminal behaviors. Promoting healthy development by increasing broad-impact positive skills may help reduce some of the risk factors for longer-term negative outcomes. School readiness has been linked to a number of positive outcomes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and may also boost intermediary positive skills such as self-competence. This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study involving 192 children in foster care who were 5 years old at the start of the study. They participated in a randomized controlled trial of a school readiness program to prepare them for kindergarten. Outcomes were assessed at third grade (9 years old) on variables associated with risk for later involvement in substance use and delinquency. These included positive attitudes towards alcohol use, positive attitudes towards antisocial behaviors, and involvement with deviant peers. Results showed that the intervention decreased positive attitudes towards alcohol use and antisocial behaviors. Further, the mediating role of children's self-competence was tested. The intervention positively influenced children's third-grade self-competence, which in turn, decreased their involvement with deviant peers. Findings suggest that promoting school readiness in children in foster care can have far-reaching, positive effects and that increased self-competence may be a mechanism for reducing risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.04.005

    View details for PubMedID 27158175

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4857707

  • A question of balance: Explaining differences between parental and grandparental perspectives on preschoolers' feeding and physical activity SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE Eli, K., Howell, K., Fisher, P. A., Nowicka, P. 2016; 154: 28-35


    Although one quarter of US and UK families rely on grandparents as the main providers of informal childcare, grandparental perspectives on the feeding and physical activity of young children remain understudied.The study's aim was to elucidate parents' and grandparents' perspectives on young children's feeding and physical activity, and identify how they negotiate potential differences between these perspectives.We interviewed 22 parents and 27 grandparents from 16 families of children aged 3-5 years in the Pacific Northwest, US. Using familial homeostasis as a novel theoretical framework, the interviews were analyzed to assess differences between parental and grandparental perspectives on feeding and physical activity.The analysis yielded six thematic categories: (1) disagreements about feeding stem from parents' and grandparents' differing definitions of healthy feeding; (2) differences between parents' and grandparents' feeding practices reflect differences in perceived caretaking roles; (3) parents and grandparents negotiate differences in feeding practices through grandparental compliance and parental compromise; (4) differences in preschoolers' physical activity are influenced by parents' and grandparents' own access to and engagement in physical activity; (5) parents and grandparents express few disagreements about preschoolers' screen-time; (6) parents and grandparents rarely discuss preschoolers' physical activity. The findings suggest that parental and grandparental decision-making about feeding and exercise is informed by ideas of what constitutes familial balance and a balanced lifestyle for a preschool aged child, rather than by the child's weight status.Parents and grandparents appear to engage in practices designed to preserve familial homeostasis, which may provide a compelling explanation for the persistent difficulties in implementing family-based childhood obesity interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.02.030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000374073400004

    View details for PubMedID 26943011

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5383349

  • Inherited and environmental influences on a childhood co-occurring symptom phenotype: Evidence from an adoption study DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Roos, L. E., Fisher, P. A., Shaw, D. S., Kim, H. K., Neiderhiser, J. M., Reiss, D., Natsuaki, M. N., Leve, L. D. 2016; 28 (1): 111-125


    Risk factors for the childhood development of co-occurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms are not well understood, despite a high prevalence and poor clinical outcomes associated with this co-occurring phenotype. We examined inherited and environmental risk factors for co-occurring symptoms in a sample of children adopted at birth and their birth mothers and adoptive mothers (N = 293). Inherited risk factors (i.e., birth mothers' processing speed and internalizing symptoms) and environmental risk factors (i.e., adoptive mothers' processing speed, internalizing symptoms, and uninvolved parenting) were examined as predictors for the development of internalizing-only, externalizing-only, or co-occurring symptoms using structural equation modeling. Results suggested a unique pattern of predictive factors for the co-occurring phenotype, with risk conferred by adoptive mothers' uninvolved parenting, birth mothers' slower processing speed, and the birth mothers' slower processing speed in tandem with adoptive mothers' higher internalizing symptoms. Additional analyses indicated that when co-occurring-symptom children were incorporated into internalizing and externalizing symptom groups, differential risk factors for externalizing and internalizing symptoms emerged. The findings suggest that spurious results may be found when children with co-occurring symptoms are not examined as a unique phenotypic group.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579415000322

    View details for Web of Science ID 000375013300009

    View details for PubMedID 25851306

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4598247

  • Translational Neuroscience as a Tool for Intervention Development in the Context of High-Adversity Families MATERNAL BRAIN PLASTICITY: PRECLINICAL AND HUMAN RESEARCH AND IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERVENTION Fisher, P. A., Rutherford, H. J., Mayes, L. C. 2016; 153: 111-125


    The use of theory-driven models to develop and evaluate family-based intervention programs has a long history in psychology. Some of the first evidence-based parenting programs to address child problem behavior, developed in the 1970s, were grounded in causal models derived from longitudinal developmental research. The same translational strategies can also be applied to designing programs that leverage emerging scientific knowledge about the effects of early adverse experiences on neurobiological systems to reduce risk and promote well-being. By specifying not only behavioral targets but also affected underlying neural systems, interventions can become more precise and efficient. This chapter describes the development of a program of research focusing on an intervention for young children in foster care. The intervention emerged from social learning theory research and employs a translational neuroscience approach. The conceptual model guiding the research, which incorporates behavioral domains as well as stress-regulatory neural systems, is described. Finally, future directions for translational neuroscience in family-based intervention research are considered.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cad.20165

    View details for Web of Science ID 000400078800008

    View details for PubMedID 27589501

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5338687

  • The Neurobiology of Intervention and Prevention in Early Adversity ANNUAL REVIEW OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, VOL 12 Fisher, P. A., Beauchamp, K. G., Roos, L. E., Noll, L. K., Flannery, J., Delker, B. C., Cannon, T. D., Widiger, T. 2016; 12: 331-357


    Early adverse experiences are well understood to affect development and well-being, placing individuals at risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes. A growing literature documents the effects of adversity on developing neurobiological systems. Fewer studies have examined stress neurobiology to understand how to mitigate the effects of early adversity. This review summarizes the research on three neurobiological systems relevant to interventions for populations experiencing high levels of early adversity: the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis, the prefrontal cortex regions involved in executive functioning, and the system involved in threat detection and response, particularly the amygdala. Also discussed is the emerging field of epigenetics and related interventions to mitigate early adversity. Further emphasized is the need for intervention research to integrate knowledge about the neurobiological effects of prenatal stressors (e.g., drug use, alcohol exposure) and early adversity. The review concludes with a discussion of the implications of this research topic for clinical psychology practice and public policy.

    View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032814-112855

    View details for Web of Science ID 000373171600014

    View details for PubMedID 26666968

  • Designing Interventions Informed by Scientific Knowledge About Effects of Early Adversity: A Translational Neuroscience Agenda for Next Generation Addictions Research. Current addiction reports Fisher, P. A., Berkman, E. T. 2015; 2 (4): 347-353


    In spite of extensive scientific knowledge about the neurobiological systems and neural pathways underlying addictions, only limited progress has been made to reduce the population-level incidence of addictions by using prevention and treatment programs. In this area of research the translation of basic neuroscience of causal mechanisms to effective interventions has not been fully realized. In this article we describe how an understanding of the effects of early adverse experiences on brain and biological development may provide new opportunities to achieve impact at scale with respect to reduction of addictions. We propose four categories of new knowledge that translational neuroscience investigations of addictions should incorporate to be successful. We then describe a translational neuroscience-informed smoking cessation intervention based on this model.

    View details for PubMedID 26985399

  • Early life stress is associated with default system integrity and emotionality during infancy JOURNAL OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY Graham, A. M., Pfeifer, J. H., Fisher, P. A., Carpenter, S., Fair, D. A. 2015; 56 (11): 1212-1222


    Extensive animal research has demonstrated the vulnerability of the brain to early life stress (ELS) with consequences for emotional development and mental health. However, the influence of moderate and common forms of stress on early human brain development is less well-understood and precisely characterized. To date, most work has focused on severe forms of stress, and/or on brain functioning years after stress exposure.In this report we focused on conflict between parents (interparental conflict), a common and relatively moderate form of ELS that is highly relevant for children's mental health outcomes. We used resting state functional connectivity MRI to examine the coordinated functioning of the infant brain (N = 23; 6-12-months-of-age) in the context of interparental conflict. We focused on the default mode network (DMN) due to its well-characterized developmental trajectory and implications for mental health. We further examined DMN strength as a mediator between conflict and infants' negative emotionality.Higher interparental conflict since birth was associated with infants showing stronger connectivity between two core DMN regions, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the anterior medial prefrontal cortex (aMPFC). PCC to amygdala connectivity was also increased. Stronger PCC-aMPFC connectivity mediated between higher conflict and higher negative infant emotionality.The developing DMN may be an important marker for effects of ELS with relevance for emotional development and subsequent mental health. Increasing understanding of the associations between common forms of family stress and emerging functional brain networks has potential to inform intervention efforts to improve mental health outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jcpp.12409

    View details for Web of Science ID 000365411200009

    View details for PubMedID 25809052

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4580514

  • The More and Less Study: a randomized controlled trial testing different approaches to treat obesity in preschoolers BMC PUBLIC HEALTH Ek, A., Chamberlain, K., Ejderhamn, J., Fisher, P. A., Marcus, C., Chamberlain, P., Nowicka, P. 2015; 15
  • The More and Less Study: a randomized controlled trial testing different approaches to treat obesity in preschoolers. BMC public health Ek, A., Chamberlain, K. L., Ejderhamn, J., Fisher, P. A., Marcus, C., Chamberlain, P., Nowicka, P. 2015; 15: 735


    While obesity has been shown to be difficult to treat in school aged children and in adolescence, promising results have been detected for children who started treatment in early childhood. Yet knowledge on the effectiveness of structured early childhood obesity treatment programs is limited, preventing the widespread implementation of such programs. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of early treatment of childhood obesity with respect to treatment focus (parenting practices or lifestyle), length and intensity. The study will also examine the influence of gender, age, parental weight status, parenting practices, child behavior as well as parents' socioeconomic status and child and parental psychosocial health on children's weight status.This is a parallel open label randomized controlled trial assessing two different behavioral treatment approaches offered in three conditions to families with children aged 4-6 years in Stockholm County, Sweden. Children (n = 180) identified as obese will be referred from primary child health care, school health care, and from outpatient pediatric clinics, and randomized to: 1) a standard treatment with focus on lifestyle, provided within the current healthcare system (n = 90); 2) a 10-session, 1.5 h/week group treatment with focus on parenting (n = 45); or 3) the same group treatment as 2) with additional follow-up sessions (n = 45). The primary study outcome is change in children's body mass index standard deviation score (BMI SDS) one year post-baseline. Secondary outcomes include changes in children's waist circumference, metabolic health, lifestyle patterns (Food Frequency Questionnaire), obesity-related child behaviors (Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire and Lifestyle Behavior Checklist, Problem Scale), parents' general and feeding parenting practices (Communicating with Children and Child Feeding Questionnaire) and lifestyle-specific self-efficacy (Lifestyle Behavior Checklist, Confidence Scale), family functioning (Family Assessment Device), child and parental psychosocial health (Child Behavior Checklist and Beck's Depression Inventory II).This study will facilitate a close examination of key components of treatment for obesity during early childhood and mechanisms of change. Results from this study will lead to better healthcare options for obesity treatment during early childhood and ultimately to the prevention of obesity later in NCT01792531 Registered February 14, 2013.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-1912-1

    View details for PubMedID 26231850

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4522072

  • Adverse Consequences of School Mobility for Children in Foster Care: A Prospective Longitudinal Study CHILD DEVELOPMENT Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Buchanan, R., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 86 (4): 1210-1226


    Few prospective studies have examined school mobility in children in foster care. This study described the school moves of 86 such children and 55 community comparison children (primarily Caucasian), living in a medium-sized metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest who were approximately 3 to 6 years old at the study start. Additionally, the effects of moves from kindergarten through Grade 2 on academic and socioemotional competence in Grades 3 through 5 were examined. A greater number of early school moves was associated with poorer later socoemotional competence and partially mediated the effects of maltreatment and out-of-home placement on socioemotional competence. This was the case only for children with poorer early learning skills in kindergarten. Implications for preventive intervention are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.12374

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358180900015

    View details for PubMedID 25906815

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4618793

  • Plasticity of risky decision making among maltreated adolescents: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Weller, J. A., Leve, L. D., Kim, H. K., Bhimji, J., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 27 (2): 535-551


    Childhood maltreatment has lasting negative effects throughout the life span. Early intervention research has demonstrated that these effects can be remediated through skill-based, family-centered interventions. However, less is known about plasticity during adolescence, and whether interventions are effective many years after children experience maltreatment. This study investigated this question by examining adolescent girls' ability to make advantageous decisions in the face of risk using a validated decision-making task; performance on this task has been associated with key neural regions involved in affective processing and executive functioning. Maltreated foster girls (n = 92), randomly assigned at age 11 to either an intervention designed to prevent risk-taking behaviors or services as usual (SAU), and nonmaltreated age and socioeconomic status matched girls living with their biological parent(s) (n = 80) completed a decision-making task (at age 15-17) that assessed risk taking and sensitivity to expected value, an index of advantageous decision making. Girls in the SAU condition demonstrated the greatest decision-making difficulties, primarily for risks to avoid losses. In the SAU group, frequency of neglect was related to greater difficulties in this area. Girls in the intervention condition with less neglect performed similarly to nonmaltreated peers. This research suggests that early maltreatment may impact decision-making abilities into adolescence and that enriched environments during early adolescence provide a window of plasticity that may ameliorate these negative effects.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579415000140

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354107000014

    View details for PubMedID 25997770

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4443863

  • Impulsivity and the association between the feedback-related negativity and performance on an inhibitory control task in young at-risk children. Psychophysiology Roos, L. E., Pears, K., Bruce, J., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 52 (5): 704-13


    Identifying neurocognitive processes associated with effective inhibitory control is particularly relevant for individuals at high risk for disruptive behaviors, such as maltreated children. Performance feedback processing during a flanker task was investigated in maltreated preschool-aged children (N = 67) via an event-related potential component, the feedback-related negativity (FRN). The functionality of the FRN in children with high impulsivity was of interest, as impulsivity was associated with an exaggerated FRN in previous research. Results showed that high impulsivity was associated with an exaggerated FRN and greater post-error slowing. For children with high impulsivity, there was a correlation between the FRN and accuracy, which was not found in children with low impulsivity. This suggests that an exaggerated FRN is particularly important for children with high impulsivity to maintain effective inhibitory control.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12389

    View details for PubMedID 25424570

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4440833

  • Impulsivity and the association between the feedback-related negativity and performance on an inhibitory control task in young at-risk children PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Roos, L. E., Pears, K., Bruce, J., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 52 (5): 704-713

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12389

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353035600011

  • Combined Influences of Genes, Prenatal Environment, Cortisol, and Parenting on the Development of Children's Internalizing Versus Externalizing Problems BEHAVIOR GENETICS Marceau, K., Laurent, H. K., Neiderhiser, J. M., Reiss, D., Shaw, D. S., Natsuaki, M. N., Fisher, P. A., Leve, L. D. 2015; 45 (3): 268-282


    Research suggests that genetic, prenatal, endocrine, and parenting influences across development individually contribute to internalizing and externalizing problems in children. The present study tests the combined contributions of genetic risk for psychopathology, prenatal environments (maternal drug use and internalizing symptoms), child cortisol at age 4.5 years, and overreactive parenting influences across childhood on 6-year-old children's internalizing and externalizing problems. We used data from an adoption design that included 361 domestically adopted children and their biological and adopted parents prospectively followed from birth. Only parenting influences contributed (independently) to externalizing problems. However, genetic influences were indirectly associated with internalizing problems (through increased prenatal risk and subsequent morning cortisol), and parenting factors were both directly and indirectly associated with internalizing problems (through morning cortisol). Results suggest that prenatal maternal drug use/symptoms and children's morning cortisol levels are mechanisms of genetic and environmental influences on internalizing problems, but not externalizing problems, in childhood.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10519-014-9689-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354120500002

    View details for PubMedID 25355319

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4416104

  • The potential of infant fMRI research and the study of early life stress as a promising exemplar DEVELOPMENTAL COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Graham, A. M., Pfeifer, J. H., Fisher, P. A., Lin, W., Gao, W., Fair, D. A. 2015; 12: 12-39


    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research with infants and toddlers has increased rapidly over the past decade, and provided a unique window into early brain development. In the current report, we review the state of the literature, which has established the feasibility and utility of task-based fMRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) during early periods of brain maturation. These methodologies have been successfully applied beginning in the neonatal period to increase understanding of how the brain both responds to environmental stimuli, and becomes organized into large-scale functional systems that support complex behaviors. We discuss the methodological challenges posed by this promising area of research. We also highlight that despite these challenges, early work indicates a strong potential for these methods to influence multiple research domains. As an example, we focus on the study of early life stress and its influence on brain development and mental health outcomes. We illustrate the promise of these methodologies for building on, and making important contributions to, the existing literature in this field.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2014.09.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000351950500002

    View details for PubMedID 25459874

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4385461

  • Child Anxiety Symptoms Related to Longitudinal Cortisol Trajectories and Acute Stress Responses: Evidence of Developmental Stress Sensitization JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Laurent, H. K., Gilliam, K. S., Wright, D. B., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 124 (1): 68-79

    View details for DOI 10.1037/abn0000009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349752800007

  • Child anxiety symptoms related to longitudinal cortisol trajectories and acute stress responses: evidence of developmental stress sensitization. Journal of abnormal psychology Laurent, H. K., Gilliam, K. S., Wright, D. B., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 124 (1): 68-79


    Cross-sectional research suggests that individuals at risk for internalizing disorders show differential activation levels and/or dynamics of stress-sensitive physiological systems, possibly reflecting a process of stress sensitization. However, there is little longitudinal research to clarify how the development of these systems over time relates to activation during acute stress, and how aspects of such activation map onto internalizing symptoms. We investigated children's (n = 107) diurnal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity via salivary cortisol (morning and evening levels) across 29 assessments spanning 6+ years, and related longitudinal patterns to acute stress responses at the end of this period (age 9-10). Associations with child psychiatric symptoms at age 10 were also examined to determine internalizing risk profiles. Increasing morning cortisol levels across assessments predicted less of a cortisol decline following interpersonal stress at age 9, and higher cortisol levels during performance stress at age 10. These same profiles of high and/or sustained cortisol elevation during psychosocial stress were associated with child anxiety symptoms. Results suggest developmental sensitization to stress-reflected in rising morning cortisol and eventual hyperactivation during acute stress exposure-may distinguish children at risk for internalizing disorders.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/abn0000009

    View details for PubMedID 25688433

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4351756

  • Improving Child Self-Regulation and Parenting in Families of Pre-kindergarten Children with Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Difficulties PREVENTION SCIENCE Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Healey, C. V., Yoerger, K., Fisher, P. A. 2015; 16 (2): 222-232


    The transition to school may be particularly difficult for children with developmental disabilities and behavioral difficulties. Such children are likely to experience problems with self-regulation skills, which are critical to school adjustment. Additionally, inconsistent discipline practices and low parental involvement in children's schooling may contribute to a poor transition to school. This study employed a randomized clinical trial to examine the effects of a school readiness intervention that focused on children's self-regulation skills as well as parenting and parental involvement in school. Results showed that the intervention had positive effects on children's self-regulation in kindergarten as measured by teacher and observer reports. Additionally, the intervention significantly reduced ineffective parenting prior to school entry, which in turn affected parental involvement. This finding is significant because it demonstrates that parental involvement in school may be increased by efforts to improve parenting skills in general. Overall, the study demonstrated that school adjustment across kindergarten among children with developmental disabilities and behavioral difficulties can be enhanced through an intervention aimed specifically at improving school readiness skills.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-014-0482-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348924100006

    View details for PubMedID 24676874

  • Review: Adoption, fostering, and the needs of looked-after and adopted children CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH Fisher, P. A. 2015; 20 (1): 5-12


    This review of the literature examines adoption, fostering, and the needs of looked-after and adopted children. Three domains of research about looked-after children are examined.There is extensive evidence that early adverse experiences affect psychological and neurobiological development in looked-after and adopted children. There is also evidence that some looked-after and adopted children show remarkable resilience in the face of adversity; intervention research provides evidence of the ability to reduce risks and promote positive outcomes in this population. The intervention studies have revealed not only the potential for improved behavioral trajectories, but also the plasticity of neurobiological systems affected by early stress.Foster and adopted children face many challenges, but scientific knowledge also provides reason for hope and information about how to maximize positive outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/camh.12084

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348862900003

    View details for PubMedID 25678858

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4321746

  • Maternal abuse history and self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT Delker, B. C., Noll, L. K., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2014; 38 (12): 2033-2043


    Although poor parenting is known to be closely linked to self-regulation difficulties in early childhood, comparatively little is understood about the role of other risk factors in the early caregiving environment (such as a parent's own experiences of childhood abuse) in developmental pathways of self-regulation into adolescence. Using a longitudinal design, this study aimed to examine how a mother's history of abuse in childhood relates to her offspring's self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence. Maternal controlling parenting and exposure to intimate partner aggression in the child's first 24-36 months were examined as important early social and environmental influences that may explain the proposed connection between maternal abuse history and preadolescent self-regulation. An ethnically diverse sample of mothers (N=488) who were identified as at-risk for child maltreatment was recruited at the time of their children's birth. Mothers and their children were assessed annually from the child's birth through 36 months, and at age 9-11 years. Structural equation modeling and bootstrap tests of indirect effects were conducted to address the study aims. Findings indicated that maternal abuse history indirectly predicted their children's self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence mainly through maternal controlling parenting in early childhood, but not through maternal exposure to aggression by an intimate partner. Maternal history of childhood abuse and maternal controlling parenting in her child's early life may have long-term developmental implications for child self-regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.10.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000346696800015

    View details for PubMedID 25459984

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4367179

  • "Those Comments Last Forever'': Parents and Grandparents of Preschoolers Recount How They Became Aware of Their Own Body Weights as Children PLOS ONE Eli, K., Howell, K., Fisher, P. A., Nowicka, P. 2014; 9 (11): e111974


    Parents' and grandparents' willingness to talk about children's body weights may be influenced by their own childhood experiences of body weight awareness and 'weight talk' in the family; however, little is known about how adults describe their recollected weight-related childhood experiences.This paper examines how parents and grandparents of preschoolers describe the emergence of their own body weight awareness in childhood or adolescence. The analysis highlights the sources that participants identify as having instigated their body weight awareness, the feelings and experiences participants associate with the experience of becoming aware of their body weights, and their framings of potential links between childhood experiences and attitudes and practices in adulthood.49 participants (22 parents, 27 grandparents, 70% women, 60% with overweight/obesity) from sixteen low-income families of children aged 3-5 years (50% girls, 56% with overweight/obesity) in the Pacific Northwest were interviewed. The interviews were videotaped, transcribed, and analyzed qualitatively.Twenty-five participants (51%) said they became aware of their body weights in childhood or adolescence. Fourteen participants said their body weight awareness emerged through comments made by others, with the majority citing parents or peers. No participant described the emergence of body weight awareness in positive terms. Four participants directly linked their own negative experiences to the decision not to discuss body weight with their preschoolers. All four cited critical comments from their parents as instigating their own body weight awareness in childhood.In most cases, participants associated their emergent awareness of body weight with overtly negative feelings or consequences; some participants said these negative experiences continued to affect them as adults. Since family-based childhood obesity interventions involve open discussion of children's body sizes, the results suggest that clinicians should reframe the discussion to deconstruct obesity stigma and emphasize inclusive, affirmative, and health-focused messages.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0111974

    View details for Web of Science ID 000347709300026

    View details for PubMedID 25393236

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4230937

  • First Time's a Charm: Maternal Problem Drinking Around the Birth of a Child in Primiparous and Multiparous Women at Risk for Child Maltreatment JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS Delker, B. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2014; 75 (6): 973-981


    The birth of a child may represent a turning point in alcohol and other drug (AOD) use trajectories, particularly for families exposed to cumulative early adversity. This prospective longitudinal study aimed to examine differences in the problem drinking trajectories of primiparous and multiparous mothers around the birth of a child. A history of AOD problems was examined as a predictor of change in problem drinking.Primiparous (n = 245) and multiparous (n = 243) women were recruited on the basis of risk for child maltreatment. Past-year maternal problem drinking was assessed with the CAGE screener (cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye opener) at childbirth and child ages 12, 24, and 36 months. Latent growth modeling was used to estimate changes in CAGE scores over the four time points.Although maternal CAGE symptoms decreased linearly from the year before the child's birth to age 36 months at the sample level, substantial differences emerged when trajectories of primiparous and multiparous mothers were examined separately. CAGE trajectories of primiparous mothers decreased sharply from the year before the child's birth to age 12 months, whereas no change was observed among multiparous mothers. Of note, an equal proportion of primiparous and multiparous women consumed any alcohol during pregnancy. In addition, a history of AOD problems predicted a slower decline in CAGE symptoms across the transition to parenthood for primiparous mothers.Parity may be an important dimension of maternal identity for AOD-focused health professionals to consider in working with mothers at risk for child maltreatment because of their problem drinking.

    View details for DOI 10.15288/jsad.2014.75.973

    View details for Web of Science ID 000345541000010

    View details for PubMedID 25343655

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4211339

  • HPA Stability for Children in Foster Care: Mental Health Implications and Moderation by Early Intervention DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Laurent, H. K., Gilliam, K. S., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2014; 56 (6): 1406-1415


    Research on stress-sensitive biological systems has typically focused on activation at one time, yet recent theories emphasize dynamic, context-specific adaptation. This study tested hypothesized calibration of one such system by examining both mean levels and longitudinal stability of daily cortisol--reflecting hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation--in children exposed to high-risk versus lower-risk caregiving contexts. Context-specific effects of longitudinal cortisol profiles were addressed via relations with child psychiatric symptoms. Children from regular foster care, foster children participating in a family-based intervention, and community comparison children (n = 96 total) collected saliva samples for cortisol assay at 29 timepoints across 6+ years. High-risk (regular foster care) children showed lower and more variable cortisol levels than their lower-risk (treatment foster care, community comparison) counterparts. For the high-risk children only, higher and more stable cortisol related to elevated anxiety symptoms. Implications for contextual calibration of stress systems and family intervention mechanisms are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21226

    View details for Web of Science ID 000340392500020

    View details for PubMedID 24889670

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4415368

  • Immediate Effects of a Program to Promote School Readiness in Low-Income Children: Results of a Pilot Study EDUCATION AND TREATMENT OF CHILDREN Pears, K. C., Healey, C. V., Fisher, P. A., Braun, D., Gill, C., Conte, H., Newman, J., Ticer, S. 2014; 37 (3): 431-460


    Children from low-income backgrounds demonstrate poorer school readiness skills than their higher-income peers. The Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program was developed to increase early literacy, social skills, and self-regulatory skills among children with inadequate school readiness. In the present study, 39 families participated in a pilot efficacy trial conducted through a community collaboration to examine the feasibility and impact of the KITS program with families from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Participating families were demographically representative of the larger populations in the participating school districts. Children who received the intervention demonstrated significantly greater improvements in letter naming, initial sound fluency, and understanding of concepts about print than their peers who did not participate in the intervention, as well as decreases in aggressive responses to peer provocation and increases in self-regulation skills. Results suggest that a brief, focused school readiness intervention is feasible to conduct with low-income families and may improve critical skills.

    View details for DOI 10.1353/etc.2014.0021

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342035100004

    View details for PubMedID 25382932

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4221231

  • Emotion Regulation Among Preschoolers on a Continuum of Risk: The Role of Maternal Emotion Coaching JOURNAL OF CHILD AND FAMILY STUDIES Ellis, B., Alisic, E., Reiss, A., Dishion, T., Fisher, P. A. 2014; 23 (6): 965-974


    Parental emotion coaching involves acknowledging and validating children's feelings, as well as guiding them on how to manage intense or negative feelings. Although parental emotion coaching has been identified as a potentially important factor for children's emotional development, research into this topic is scant. The present study examined whether maternal emotion coaching can play a mediational role between family risk (i.e. economic disadvantage, family stress, and maltreatment) and emotion regulation in preschoolers. Seventy-four preschoolers, aged 46-58 months, and their maternal caregivers participated in an observational laboratory study, including a narrative task in which mothers and children reminisced about a mildly upsetting event. We coded these conversations for maternal emotion coaching behaviors with the Family Emotional Communication Scoring System. A family risk score was obtained via the Family Events Checklist and demographic data. We measured children's emotion regulation with the Emotion Regulation Checklist. Increased family risk was associated with both reduced child emotion regulation and reduced maternal emotion coaching. Maternal emotion coaching partially mediated the relation between family risk and child emotion regulation, in particular child emotional lability. The findings support further research into the possibilities of training mothers in high risk families in emotion coaching skills in order to foster their children's emotional development.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10826-013-9752-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000339114900002

    View details for PubMedID 28572715

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5448709

  • Stress system development from age 4.5 to 6: Family environment predictors and adjustment implications of HPA activity stability versus change DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Laurent, H. K., Neiderhiser, J. M., Natsuaki, M. N., Shaw, D. S., Fisher, P. A., Reiss, D., Leve, L. D. 2014; 56 (3): 340-354


    This study addressed early calibration of stress systems by testing links between adversity exposures, developmental stability of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, and behavior problems in a sample of adopted children. Families (n=200) were assessed when the child was 9, 18, and 27 months, 4.5 and 6 years to collect adversity information-parent psychopathology, stress, financial need, and home chaos. Morning and evening cortisol samples at the final two assessments indexed child HPA activity, and parent-reported internalizing and externalizing at the final assessment represented child behavior outcomes. Increases in cumulative adversity from 4.5 to 6 related to higher child morning cortisol, whereas age six cumulative adversities related to lower, unstable child evening cortisol. Examination of specific adversity dimensions revealed associations between (1) increasing home chaos and stable morning cortisol, which in turn related to internalizing problems; and (2) high parental stress and psychopathology and lower, unstable evening cortisol, which in turn related to externalizing problems.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21103

    View details for Web of Science ID 000332765300003

    View details for PubMedID 23400689

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3883974

  • Child diurnal cortisol rhythms, parenting quality, and externalizing behaviors in preadolescence PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Martin, C., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2014; 40: 170-180


    This study examined a neurobiologically informed model of the emergence of child externalizing behaviors in an ethnically diverse community sample of 232 9-12 year old children. Replicating extensive prior research, our analyses revealed that parents' inconsistent discipline and poor quality monitoring were predictive of child externalizing behavior. In addition, poor parental monitoring, but not inconsistent discipline, was associated with children having a significantly flatter morning-to-evening cortisol slope, which was in turn, related to higher levels of externalizing behaviors. An indirect effect of parental monitoring on externalizing behaviors, through child diurnal cortisol rhythms, was also supported. These findings highlight the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and its hormonal end product, cortisol, in the relationship between the caregiving environment and the development of externalizing behaviors.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.11.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000331921300020

    View details for PubMedID 24485489

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3935801

  • Excessive stress disrupts the development of brain architecture JOURNAL OF CHILDRENS SERVICES Bunge, S., Cameron, J. L., Duncan, G. J., Fisher, P. A., Fox, N. A., Gunnar, M. R., Hensch, T., Levitt, P., Martinez, F. D., Mayes, L. C., McEwen, B. S., Nelson, C. A., Shonkoff, J. P., Natl Sci Council Developing Child 2014; 9 (2): 143-153
  • It Takes a Family to Raise a Child Human Development Review of Romania's Abandoned Children: Deprivation, Brain Development, and the Struggle for Recovery by Charles A. Nelson, Nathan A. Fox, and Charles H. Zeanah HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Fisher, P. A. 2014; 57 (5): 313-318

    View details for DOI 10.1159/000366027

    View details for Web of Science ID 000344835100005

  • Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers: A Program for Maltreated Children in the Child Welfare System EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACHES FOR THE TREATMENT OF MALTREATED CHILDREN: CONSIDERING CORE COMPONENTS AND TREATMENT EFFECTIVENESS Gilliam, K. S., Fisher, P. A., Timmer, S., Urquiza, A. 2014; 3: 145-162
  • "A little on the heavy side": a qualitative analysis of parents' and grandparents' perceptions of preschoolers' body weights BMJ OPEN Eli, K., Howell, K., Fisher, P. A., Nowicka, P. 2014; 4 (12): e006609


    Parents' difficulties in perceiving children's weight status accurately pose a barrier for family-based obesity interventions; however, the factors underlying weight misinterpretation still need to be identified. This study's objective was to examine parents and grandparents' perceptions of preschoolers' body sizes. Interview questions also explored perceptions of parental responsibility for childhood obesity and appropriate contexts in which to discuss preschoolers' weights.Semistructured interviews, which were videotaped, transcribed and analysed qualitatively.Eugene and the Springfield metropolitan area, Oregon, USA PARTICIPANTS: Families of children aged 3-5 years were recruited in February-May 2011 through advertisements about the study, published in the job seekers' sections of a classified website (Craigslist) and in a local newspaper. 49 participants (22 parents and 27 grandparents, 70% women, 60% with overweight/obesity) from 16 low-income families of children aged 3-5 years (50% girls, 56% with overweight/obesity) were interviewed.There are important gaps between clinical definitions and lay perceptions of childhood obesity. While parents and grandparents were aware of their preschoolers' growth chart percentiles, these measures did not translate into recognition of children's overweight or obesity. The participants spoke of obesity as a problem that may affect the children in the future, but not at present. Participants identified childhood obesity as being transmitted from one generation to the next, and stigmatised it as resulting from 'lazy' parenting. Parents and grandparents avoided discussing the children's weights with each other and with the children themselves.The results suggest that clinicians should clearly communicate with parents and grandparents about the meaning and appearance of obesity in early childhood, as well as counteract the social stigma attached to obesity, in order to improve the effectiveness of family-based interventions to manage obesity in early childhood.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006609

    View details for Web of Science ID 000355413900065

    View details for PubMedID 25500371

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4265138

  • Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Shonkoff, J. P., Fisher, P. A. 2013; 25 (4): 1635-1653


    Half a century of research and program evaluation has fueled a diverse landscape of early childhood policies and practices that produce a range of positive effects on the life prospects of children who face the burdens of significant adversity. Drawing on advances in neurobiology, developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, and prevention science, this paper presents a framework for elucidating underlying causal mechanisms that explain differences in outcomes, formulating enhanced theories of change about how to shift developmental trajectories, designing creative interventions and rethinking the concept of a two-generation strategy to produce breakthrough impacts, and launching a new era of investment in young children and their families that will achieve greater reductions in intergenerational disparities in learning, behavior, and health than those produced by current best practices. Particular attention is focused on the hypothesis that substantially better outcomes for vulnerable, young children could be achieved by greater attention to strengthening the resources and capabilities of the adults who care for them rather than by continuing to focus primarily on the provision of child-focused enrichment, parenting education, and informal support. Central to achieving this goal is the need to establish an innovation-friendly environment that embraces fast-cycle sharing, supports risk taking, and celebrates learning from failure.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579413000813

    View details for Web of Science ID 000332382500027

    View details for PubMedID 24342860

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4745587

  • Preventing Child Behavior Problems and Substance Use: The Pathways Home Foster Care Reunification Intervention JOURNAL OF CHILD & ADOLESCENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE DeGarmo, D. S., Reid, J. B., Fetrow, B. A., Fisher, P. A., Antoine, K. D. 2013; 22 (5): 388-406


    This paper evaluated the Pathways Home manualized selective preventive intervention designed to prevent reunification failures once children are returned home to their biological parent(s) after first time stays in foster care (n = 101). The theoretically based intervention focused on support and parent management practices designed to prevent the development of child behavior problems including internalizing and externalizing problems, and substance use. Intent to treat analyses employed probability growth curve approaches for repeated telephone assessments over 16 weeks of intervention. Findings showed that relative to services as usual reunification families, the Pathways Home families demonstrated better parenting strategies that were in turn associated with reductions in problem behaviors over time. Growth in problem behaviors in turn predicted foster care re-entry. Maternal substance use cravings were a risk factor for growth in problem behaviors that were buffered by participation in the Pathways Home intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/1067828X.2013.788884

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321431800004

    View details for PubMedID 23914130

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3727288

  • Patterns of brain activation in foster children and nonmaltreated children during an inhibitory control task DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A., Graham, A. M., Moore, W. E., Peake, S. J., Mannering, A. M. 2013; 25 (4): 931-941


    Children in foster care have often encountered a range of adverse experiences, including neglectful and/or abusive care and multiple caregiver transitions. Prior research findings suggest that such experiences negatively affect inhibitory control and the underlying neural circuitry. In the current study, event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed during a go/no go task that assesses inhibitory control to compare the behavioral performance and brain activation of foster children and nonmaltreated children. The sample included two groups of 9- to 12-year-old children: 11 maltreated foster children and 11 nonmaltreated children living with their biological parents. There were no significant group differences on behavioral performance on the task. In contrast, patterns of brain activation differed by group. The nonmaltreated children demonstrated stronger activation than did the foster children across several regions, including the right anterior cingulate cortex, the middle frontal gyrus, and the right lingual gyrus, during correct no go trials, whereas the foster children displayed stronger activation than the nonmaltreated children in the left inferior parietal lobule and the right superior occipital cortex, including the lingual gyrus and cuneus, during incorrect no go trials. These results provide preliminary evidence that the early adversity experienced by foster children impacts the neural substrates of inhibitory control.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S095457941300028X

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330358700005

    View details for PubMedID 24229540

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3831359

  • Decision-Making Deficits Among Maltreated Children CHILD MALTREATMENT Weller, J. A., Fisher, P. A. 2013; 18 (3): 184-194


    Although maltreated children involved with child welfare services are known to exhibit elevated levels of health-risking behaviors, little is known about their decision-making processes leading to such tendencies. Research findings suggest that maltreated children exhibit developmental delays in neurocognitive and emotional regulation systems that could adversely impact their abilities to make decisions under conditions of risk. Whereas prior researchers have examined risky decision making as a global construct, maltreated children's decision making was examined in two contexts in the present study: potential gains and potential losses. Comparing maltreated children (n = 25) and a nonmaltreated community group (n = 112), it was found that the maltreated children showed decision-making impairments for both domains: This impairment was especially prominent in the loss domain. The maltreated children took excessive risks and were insensitive to changes in expected value. Follow-up analyses revealed that these differences were primarily associated with insensitivity to changes in outcome magnitude for the risky option. Finally, response latency analyses indicated that the maltreated children were slower to make choices, reinforcing underlying differences in decision processes between groups. These results have implications for basic and translational science.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077559512467846

    View details for Web of Science ID 000322770400005

    View details for PubMedID 23220788

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3737421

  • Immediate Effects of a School Readiness Intervention for Children in Foster Care EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Healey, C. V., Yoerger, K. 2013; 24 (6): 771-791


    School readiness is a strong predictor of adjustment in elementary school and beyond. Children in foster care are at particular risk for academic and social difficulties in school. Limitations in self-regulatory skills and caregiver involvement among these children might contribute to a lack of school readiness. This study presents the immediate effects on school readiness of a targeted, short-term intervention designed to improve children's early literacy, prosocial, and self-regulatory skills during the summer before kindergarten entry: Kids in Transition to School (KITS). Using a randomized controlled trial design, 192 children in foster care were assigned to either an intervention or services as usual comparison condition. Multimethod, multiagent assessments were conducted immediately prior to and following the completion of the intervention. The results from structural equation modeling indicated that the intervention had significant, positive effects on early literacy and self-regulatory skills.An efficacious, short-term, readily scalable, theoretically-based intervention targeted at specific vulnerabilities for children in foster care may help to improve their school readiness and eventual school adjustment.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/10409289.2013.736037

    View details for Web of Science ID 000322213200001

    View details for PubMedID 24015056

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3760738

  • Early Adverse Care, Stress Neurobiology, and Prevention Science: Lessons Learned PREVENTION SCIENCE Bruce, J., Gunnar, M. R., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2013; 14 (3): 247-256


    There is growing evidence that some of the difficulties observed among children who have experienced early adverse care (e.g., children internationally adopted from institutional care and maltreated children in foster care) involve experience-induced alterations in stress-responsive neurobiological systems, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system. Thus, incorporating stress neurobiology into prevention research could aid in identifying the children most in need of preventive intervention services, elucidating the mechanisms of change in effective interventions, and providing insight into the differential responses of children to effective interventions. However, integrating stress neurobiology and prevention research is challenging. In this paper, the results of studies examining HPA system activity in children who have experienced early adverse care are reviewed, the implications of these results for prevention research are discussed, and critical steps for successfully incorporating stress neurobiology into prevention research are identified.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-012-0354-6

    View details for Web of Science ID 000317979900006

    View details for PubMedID 23420476

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3633628

  • What Sleeping Babies Hear: A Functional MRI Study of Interparental Conflict and Infants' Emotion Processing PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Graham, A. M., Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2013; 24 (5): 782-789


    Experiences of adversity in the early years of life alter the developing brain. However, evidence documenting this relationship often focuses on severe stressors and relies on peripheral measures of neurobiological functioning during infancy. In the present study, we employed functional MRI during natural sleep to examine associations between a more moderate environmental stressor (nonphysical interparental conflict) and 6- to 12-month-old infants' neural processing of emotional tone of voice. The primary question was whether interparental conflict experienced by infants is associated with neural responses to emotional tone of voice, particularly very angry speech. Results indicated that maternal report of higher interparental conflict was associated with infants' greater neural responses to very angry relative to neutral speech across several brain regions implicated in emotion and stress reactivity and regulation (including rostral anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, thalamus, and hypothalamus). These findings suggest that even moderate environmental stress may be associated with brain functioning during infancy.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797612458803

    View details for Web of Science ID 000318854600020

    View details for PubMedID 23538912

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3674876

  • Father-Child Transmission of School Adjustment: A Prospective Intergenerational Study DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Capaldi, D., Kerr, D. R., Fisher, P. A. 2013; 49 (4): 792-803


    The intergenerational transmission of school adjustment was explored in a sample of 213 children and their fathers. The fathers were participants in a longitudinal study that began when they were in the 4th grade, and their children have been assessed at the ages of 21 months and 3, 5, and 7 years. Two components of school adjustment were measured: academic achievement and peer relations. Results show that the fathers' academic achievement and peer relations were directly related to the same factors in their offspring even when the fathers' educational attainment, and both the fathers' and the children's general cognitive abilities were included in the models. When potential mechanisms of intergenerational transmission were examined, father's age at the birth of the child, income, and educational expectations for the child were links in the transmission of academic achievement from one generation to the next. For peer relations across generations, income, inconsistent parenting, and educational expectations were links in transmission. Implications of these findings are considered, including the possibility that interventions to improve school adjustment in one generation might have significant and long-reaching effects for the next.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0028543

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316840100014

    View details for PubMedID 22612433

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3440525

  • Early School Engagement and Late Elementary Outcomes for Maltreated Children in Foster Care. Developmental psychology Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A., Yoerger, K. 2013


    Children with a history of maltreatment and placement into foster care face elevated risks of poor psychosocial outcomes including school failure, substance use, externalizing, and deviant peer association. For children in the general population, school engagement appears to be a promotive factor in preventing negative outcomes. In this study, differences in 3 dimensions of school engagement (behavioral, affective, and cognitive) in early elementary school were explored in maltreated children in foster care (n = 93) and a community comparison group of low-socioeconomic status, nonmaltreated children (n = 54). It was also hypothesized that these 3 dimensions of school engagement would mediate the association between being maltreated and in foster care and several outcomes in late elementary school (Grades 3-5): academic competence, endorsement of substance use, externalizing behaviors, and deviant peer association. Measures were multimethod and multi-informant. Results showed that the children in foster care had lower affective and cognitive school engagement than children in the community comparison group. Structural equation modeling revealed that both affective and cognitive school engagement mediated the association between group status and academic competence in late elementary school. Cognitive engagement also mediated the association between group status and engagement in risk behaviors. The identification of dimensions of early school engagement that predict later outcomes suggests potential points of intervention to change trajectories of academic and behavioral adjustment for maltreated children in foster care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0032218

    View details for PubMedID 23477532

  • Effects of Parental Depressive Symptoms on Child Adjustment Moderated by Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Activity: Within- and Between-Family Risk CHILD DEVELOPMENT Laurent, H. K., Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Natsuaki, M. N., Shaw, D. S., Fisher, P. A., Marceau, K., Harold, G. T., Reiss, D. 2013; 84 (2): 528-542


    Child hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) activity was investigated as a moderator of parental depressive symptom effects on child behavior in an adoption sample (n = 210 families). Adoptive parents' depressive symptoms and child internalizing and externalizing were assessed at 18, 27, and 54 months, and child morning and evening HPA activity measured through salivary cortisol at 54 months. Children's daily cortisol levels and day-to-day variability were tested as moderators of longitudinal associations between parent and child symptoms at within- and between-family levels. Mothers' symptoms related directly to child internalizing, but child evening cortisol moderated effects of fathers' symptoms on internalizing, and of both parents' symptoms on externalizing. Different paths of within-family risk dynamics versus between-family risk synergy were found for internalizing versus externalizing outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01859.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316805900011

    View details for PubMedID 23013523

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3532571

  • A Translational Neuroscience Perspective on the Importance of Reducing Placement Instability among Foster Children CHILD WELFARE Fisher, P. A., Mannering, A. M., Van Scoyoc, A., Graham, A. M. 2013; 92 (5): 9-36

    View details for Web of Science ID 000209195400002

    View details for PubMedID 24923133

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4396742

  • Effects of a School Readiness Intervention for Children in Foster Care on Oppositional and Aggressive Behaviors in Kindergarten. Children and youth services review Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 34 (12): 2361-2366

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.08.015

    View details for PubMedID 23710106

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3661284

  • Understanding the Relation of Low Income to HPA-Axis Functioning in Preschool Children: Cumulative Family Risk and Parenting As Pathways to Disruptions in Cortisol CHILD PSYCHIATRY & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Zalewski, M., Lengua, L. J., Kiff, C. J., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 43 (6): 924-942


    This study examined the relation of low income and poverty to cortisol levels, and tested potential pathways from low income to disruptions in cortisol through cumulative family risk and parenting. The sample of 306 mothers and their preschool children included 29 % families at or near poverty, 27 % families below the median income, and the remaining families at middle and upper income. Lower income was related to lower morning cortisol levels, and cumulative risk predicted a flatter diurnal slope, with a significant indirect effect through maternal negativity, suggesting that parenting practices might mediate an allostatic effect on stress physiology.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10578-012-0304-3

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309866100007

    View details for PubMedID 22528032

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3621874

  • Practitioner Review: Children in foster care - vulnerabilities and evidence-based interventions that promote resilience processes JOURNAL OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Chamberlain, P., Landsverk, J. A., Fisher, P. A., Vostanis, P. 2012; 53 (12): 1197-1211


    An increasing number of children are placed in foster care (i.e., a kin or nonkin family home other than the biological parent) due to experiences of physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse, and/or neglect. Children in foster care are at increased risk for a host of negative outcomes encompassing emotional, behavioral, neurobiological, and social realms.Areas of risk and vulnerability among foster children are described, including emotional and behavioral deficits, impaired neurobiological development, and social relationship deficits. Evidence suggesting the significance of family placement changes and prenatal exposure to substances as contributing mechanisms is presented. Based on a systematic search of the PsycINFO database (to March 2012), eight efficacious evidence-based interventions for foster families are summarized.Although the development of evidence-based interventions that improve outcomes for foster children has lagged behind the delivery of interventions in other service sectors (e.g., mental health and educational sectors), several interventions across childhood and adolescence offer promise. Service system constraints offer both challenges and opportunities for more routine implementation of evidence-based interventions.Given the increased likelihood of poor outcomes for foster children, increased efforts to understand the pathways to vulnerability and to implement interventions shown to be effective in remediating risks and improving outcomes for this population are indicated. Evaluation of efficacious interventions in countries outside of the United States is also needed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02594.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311432700002

    View details for PubMedID 22882015

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3505234

  • Training Self-Control: A Domain-General Translational Neuroscience Approach CHILD DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES Berkman, E. T., Graham, A. M., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 6 (4): 374-384


    Self-control plays an important role in healthy development and has been shown to be amenable to intervention. This article presents a theoretical framework for the emerging area of "brain-training" interventions that includes both laboratory-based direct training methods and ecologically valid school-, family-, and community-based interventions. Although these approaches have proliferated in recent years, evidence supporting them is just beginning to emerge, and conceptual models underlying many of the techniques they employ tend to be underspecified and imprecise. Identifying the neural systems responsible for improvements in self-control may be of tremendous benefit not only for overall intervention efficacy but also for basic science issues related to underlying shared biological mechanisms of psychopathology. This article reviews the neurodevelopment of self-control and explores its implications for theory, intervention, and prevention. It then presents a neurally informed framework for understanding self-control development and change and discusses how this framework may inform future intervention strategies for individuals suffering with psychopathology or drug abuse/dependence, or for young children with delays in cognitive or emotional functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00248.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311089400009

    View details for PubMedID 23894251

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3722070

  • Neurobehavioral disinhibition predicts initiation of substance use in children with prenatal cocaine exposure DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE Lester, B. M., Lin, H., DeGarmo, D. S., Fisher, P. A., LaGasse, L. L., Levine, T. P., Shankaran, S., Bada, H. S., Bauer, C. R., Hammond, J. A., Whitaker, T. M., Higgins, R. D. 2012; 126 (1-2): 80-86


    In previous work we (Fisher et al., 2011) examined the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition (ND) in adolescents with prenatal substance exposure. We computed ND factor scores at three age points (8/9, 11 and 13/14 years) and found that both prenatal substance exposure and early adversity predicted ND. The purpose of the current study was to determine the association between these ND scores and initiation of substance use between ages 8 and 16 in this cohort as early initiation of substance use has been related to later substance use disorders. Our hypothesis was that prenatal cocaine exposure predisposes the child to ND, which, in turn, is associated with initiation of substance use by age 16.We studied 386 cocaine exposed and 517 unexposed children followed since birth in a longitudinal study. Five dichotomous variables were computed based on the subject's report of substance use: alcohol only; tobacco only; marijuana only; illicit substances and any substance.Cox proportional hazard regression showed that the 8/9 year ND score was related to initiation of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and any substance use but not marijuana use. The trajectory of ND across the three age periods was related to substance use initiation in all five substance use categories. Prenatal cocaine exposure, although initially related to tobacco, marijuana and illicit substance initiation, was no longer significant with ND scores in the models.Prenatal drug exposure appears to be a risk pathway to ND, which by 8/9 years portends substance use initiation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.04.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311708100012

    View details for PubMedID 22608010

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3439586

  • Poverty and Single Parenting: Relations with Preschoolers' Cortisol and Effortful Control INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT Zalewski, M., Lengua, L. J., Fisher, P. A., Trancik, A., Bush, N. R., Meltzoff, A. N. 2012; 21 (5): 537-554

    View details for DOI 10.1002/icd.1759

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308298900007

  • Effects of maltreatment and early intervention on diurnal cortisol slope across the start of school: A pilot study CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT Graham, A. M., Yockelson, M., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 36 (9): 666-670

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.07.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309247800006

    View details for PubMedID 22964372

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3445788

  • Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care: An Alternative to Residential Treatment for High Risk Children and Adolescents. Intervencion psicosocial Fisher, P. A., Gilliam, K. S. 2012; 21 (2): 195-203


    This paper describes the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care program (MTFC), an evidence based approach for providing psychotherapeutic treatment for very troubled children and adolescents that is an alternative to residential care. Versions of the MTFC program have been developed and validated for young children with a history of maltreatment as well as for older children and adolescents who are involved with the youth justice system. In the paper we describe the development of the MTFC program and its foundations in the social learning model that originated at the Oregon Social Learning Center in the 1960's and 70's. We present information about program elements. We then review the research that has been conducted on MTFC.

    View details for DOI 10.5093/in2012a20

    View details for PubMedID 28250708

  • The Placement History Chart: A tool for understanding the longitudinal pattern of foster children's placements CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Kim, H. K., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 34 (8): 1459-1464


    Despite growing concerns about foster placement instability, little information is available regarding the longitudinal patterns of placement histories among foster children. The purpose of the present study was to develop a charting system using child welfare records to facilitate a better understanding of longitudinal patterns of placement history for 117 foster children. The resulting Placement History Chart included all placements that occurred during the observed time period and accounted for various dimensions: number, length, type, and sequence of placements; timing of transitions; and total time in out-of-home care. The Placement History Chart is an effective tool for placing foster care experiences within a broader developmental context. As such, the Placement History Chart can be a valuable research tool for understanding various dimensions and variations of placement transitions among foster children by capturing sequences and cumulative risks over time. Furthermore, this chart can facilitate the development of intervention programs that are developmentally sensitive and effectively address particularly vulnerable subpopulations of foster children.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.03.024

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305870100007

    View details for PubMedID 22754080

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3384694

  • Racial and ethnic differences in diurnal cortisol rhythms in preadolescents: The role of parental psychosocial risk and monitoring HORMONES AND BEHAVIOR Martin, C., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 61 (5): 661-668


    Racial/ethnic minorities experience persistent health disparities due in part to their exposure to chronic SES and psychosocial risk. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and its hormonal end product, cortisol, are believed to mediate the associations between chronic stress and poor health. In this study, racial/ethnic differences in diurnal salivary cortisol rhythms in 179 preadolescent youths and the contributing roles of SES risk, psychosocial risk, perceived discrimination, harsh parenting, and parental monitoring were examined. The analyses revealed racial/ethnic differences in diurnal cortisol rhythms, with African Americans having significantly flatter morning-to-evening cortisol slopes than Caucasians and with Latinos having significantly lower evening cortisol levels than Caucasians. Greater psychosocial risk and less parental monitoring were associated with flatter cortisol slopes. Racial/ethnic differences on the cortisol measures persisted when controlling for SES, psychosocial risk, and parenting quality. The need to assess chronic risk across the lifespan and disentangle possible genetic from environmental contributors is discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.02.025

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304339800001

    View details for PubMedID 22414445

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3419379

  • Cross-cultural temperamental differences in infants, children, and adults in the United States of America and Finland SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY Gaias, L. M., Raikkonen, K., Komsi, N., Gartstein, M. A., Fisher, P. A., Putnam, S. P. 2012; 53 (2): 119-128


    Cross-cultural differences in temperament were investigated between infants (n = 131, 84 Finns), children (n = 653, 427 Finns), and adults (n = 759, 538 Finns) from the United States of America and Finland. Participants from both cultures completed the Infant Behavior Questionnaire, Childhood Behavior Questionnaire and the Adult Temperament Questionnaire. Across all ages, Americans received higher ratings on temperamental fearfulness than Finnish individuals, and also demonstrated higher levels of other negative affects at several time points. During infancy and adulthood, Finns tended to score higher on positive affect and elements of temperamental effortful control. Gender differences consistent with prior studies emerged cross-culturally, and were found to be more pronounced in the US during childhood and in Finland during adulthood.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2012.00937.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000301709600004

    View details for PubMedID 22428997

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3310888

  • Risk for Maternal Harsh Parenting in High-Risk Families From Birth to Age Three: Does Ethnicity Matter? PREVENTION SCIENCE Martin, C., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K. 2012; 13 (1): 64-74


    Child maltreatment prevention programs typically identify at-risk families by screening for risk with limited consideration of how risk might vary by ethnicity. In this study, longitudinal data from mothers who participated in a randomized clinical trial of a home-visitation, child maltreatment prevention program (N = 262) were examined to determine whether risk for harsh parenting differed among mothers who identified themselves as Spanish-speaking Latinas (n = 64), English-speaking Latinas (n = 102), or non-Latina Caucasians (n = 96). The majority of the participants were first-time mothers (58.4%), and the average age of all participants was 23.55 years (SD = 6.04). At the time of their infants' births, the Spanish-speaking Latina mothers demonstrated higher SES risk, whereas the English-speaking Latina and non-Latina Caucasian mothers demonstrated higher psychosocial risk. Three years later, the English-speaking Latina and non-Latina Caucasian mothers reported harsher parenting behaviors than the Spanish-speaking Latina mothers. The need for prevention programs to consider how risk and protective factors differ by ethnic group membership when identifying at-risk mothers is discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-011-0247-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000300663600007

    View details for PubMedID 21935658

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5300780

  • Partner Aggression in High-Risk Families From Birth to Age 3 Years: Associations With Harsh Parenting and Child Maladjustment JOURNAL OF FAMILY PSYCHOLOGY Graham, A. M., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 26 (1): 105-114


    Aggression between partners represents a potential guiding force in family dynamics. However, research examining the influence of partner aggression (physically and psychologically aggressive acts by both partners) on harsh parenting and young child adjustment has been limited by a frequent focus on low-risk samples and by the examination of partner aggression at a single time point. Especially in the context of multiple risk factors and around transitions such as childbirth, partner aggression might be better understood as a dynamic process. In the present study, longitudinal trajectories of partner aggression from birth to age 3 years in a large, high-risk, and ethnically diverse sample (N = 461) were examined. Specific risk factors were tested as predictors of aggression over time, and the longitudinal effects of partner aggression on maternal harsh parenting and child maladjustment were examined. Partner aggression decreased over time, with higher maternal depression and lower maternal age predicting greater decreases in partner aggression. While taking into account contextual and psychosocial risk factors, higher partner aggression measured at birth and a smaller decrease over time independently predicted higher levels of maternal harsh parenting at age 3 years. Initial level of partner aggression and change over time predicted child maladjustment indirectly (via maternal harsh parenting). The implications of understanding change in partner aggression over time as a path to harsh parenting and young children's maladjustment in the context of multiple risk factors are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0026722

    View details for Web of Science ID 000300198800012

    View details for PubMedID 22201248

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3380639

  • Training the Brain Practical Applications of Neural Plasticity From the Intersection of Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Prevention Science AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST Bryck, R. L., Fisher, P. A. 2012; 67 (2): 87-100


    Prior researchers have shown that the brain has a remarkable ability for adapting to environmental changes. The positive effects of such neural plasticity include enhanced functioning in specific cognitive domains and shifts in cortical representation following naturally occurring cases of sensory deprivation; however, maladaptive changes in brain function and development owing to early developmental adversity and stress have also been well documented. Researchers examining enriched rearing environments in animals have revealed the potential for inducing positive brain plasticity effects and have helped to popularize methods for training the brain to reverse early brain deficits or to boost normal cognitive functioning. In this article, two classes of empirically based methods of brain training in children are reviewed and critiqued: laboratory-based, mental process training paradigms and ecological interventions based upon neurocognitive conceptual models. Given the susceptibility of executive function disruption, special attention is paid to training programs that emphasize executive function enhancement. In addition, a third approach to brain training, aimed at tapping into compensatory processes, is postulated. Study results showing the effectiveness of this strategy in the field of neurorehabilitation and in terms of naturally occurring compensatory processing in human aging lend credence to the potential of this approach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0024657

    View details for Web of Science ID 000300538200001

    View details for PubMedID 21787037

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3335430

  • Research into Theory into Practice: An Overview of Family Based Interventions for Child Antisocial Behavior Developed at the Oregon Social Learning Center. Clinica y salud Fisher, P. A., Gilliam, K. S. 2012; 23 (3): 247-259


    Although many psychotherapeutic approaches exist for treating troubled children and their families, not all have been evaluated to be effective through research. Moreover, among those that have been determined to be "evidence-based," few have followed as coherent and rigorous a path of rigorous scientific investigation as the interventions that have been developed at the Oregon Social Learning Center. As such, these interventions serve as a model of "research to theory to practice" that may not only be employed to support families with children in need of treatment, but may also guide other programs of treatment development. This is the story of how this work has unfolded over the past four decades.

    View details for DOI 10.5093/cl2012a16

    View details for PubMedID 29225459

  • Cumulative effects of prenatal substance exposure and early adversity on foster children's HPA-axis reactivity during a psychosocial stressor Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C. SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD. 2012: 29-35


    Dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis stress response has been reported among individuals with prenatal substance exposure and those with early adversity. However, few researchers have examined the combined effects of these risk factors. Patterns of HPA reactivity among maltreated foster children with and without prenatal substance exposure (N = 53; ages 9-12 years) were examined using the Trier Social Stress Test for Children. Area under the curve with respect to increase (AUC(I)) analyses revealed that prenatal substance exposure or physical abuse significantly increased the likelihood of a negative AUC(I) (i.e., little or no HPA reactivity). Among children with prenatal substance exposure and physical abuse, 85% exhibited a negative AUC(I). The results underscore the importance of addressing this combined risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0165025411406863

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298188500005

    View details for PubMedID 22962506

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3433063

  • Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Neuroimaging Studies of the Effects of Child Maltreatment ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRICS & ADOLESCENT MEDICINE Fisher, P. A., Pfeifer, J. H. 2011; 165 (12): 1133-1134
  • Young children in foster care and the development of favorable outcomes CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Healey, C. V., Fisher, P. A. 2011; 33 (10): 1822-1830


    Young foster children have invariably faced a variety of risks that are strongly linked to long-term deficits in functioning across multiple developmental domains. Despite these risks, however, some children demonstrate more favorable outcomes and exhibit adaptation and the development of assets. In the present study, the relationship of early childhood factors (e.g., maltreatment history, placement history, parenting practices, environmental stress, developmental status, and attachment behavior) to the development of favorable outcomes in middle childhood were examined in a sample of foster children who had been in foster care in preschool (N = 35). Favorable outcomes were defined as demonstrations of emotion regulation and school adjustment in during middle childhood. Developmental status (particularly attention and executive functioning) and a lack of environmental stress during early childhood foster care experiences had a significant positive relationship with the development of emotion regulation and school adjustment in middle childhood.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.05.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295435600008

    View details for PubMedID 21987598

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3188952

  • Which psychological method is most effective for group treatment? INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC OBESITY Nowicka, P., Savoye, M., Fisher, P. A. 2011; 6: 70-73


    While outcome studies in pediatric obesity have received considerable attention, research on different components of effective interventions remains limited. Little is known which psychological method (i.e., behavior modification, cognitive behavior therapy and family therapy) is most useful or how the choice of program delivery (group/individual) influences the intervention outcomes. Group treatment is of particular interest for two reasons. First, motivation is important for behavior change; in group settings motivation can be increased in two ways: by the group leader and through the interaction with the group participants. Second, group treatment can be more cost-effective than individual approaches (i.e., it requires fewer staff resources and space). This paper aims to comment on the influence of the method choice and delivery in pediatric obesity interventions through discussion of the existing evidence on current programs. In addition, two examples of useful models will be described in more detail: the Yale Bright Bodies Weight Management Program and the Family Weight School. These are outpatients programs both targeting families with severely obese children but through different methodological approaches. Finally, directions for future research will be explored, particularly regarding how the selection of program delivery and psychological method affect treatment outcomes in various populations.

    View details for DOI 10.3109/17477166.2011.606322

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294867700012

    View details for PubMedID 21905820

  • Foster Placement Disruptions Associated With Problem Behavior: Mitigating a Threshold Effect JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Stoolmiller, M., Mannering, A. M., Takahashi, A., Chamberlain, P. 2011; 79 (4): 481-487


    Placement disruptions have adverse effects on foster children. Identifying reliable predictors of placement disruptions might assist in the allocation of services to prevent disruptions. There were two objectives in this study: (a) to replicate a prior finding that the number of daily child problem behaviors at entry into a new foster home predicts subsequent placement disruptions in foster preschoolers and (b) to determine whether this association is mitigated by a treatment foster care intervention.Problem behavior and placement disruptions were examined in 60 children in regular foster care (age range = 3.10-5.91 years [M = 4.34, SD = 0.83], 58.3% male, 93.4% Caucasian) and 57 children in a treatment foster care program (age range = 3.01-6.78 years [M = 4.54, SD = 0.86], 49.1% male, 82.5% Caucasian). Using the Parent Daily Report Checklist (Chamberlain & Reid, 1987), a brief telephone interview, foster caregivers reported problem behavior 6 times over 3 months. Placement disruptions were tracked over 12 months.The regular foster care children with 5 or fewer problem behaviors were at low risk for disruption, but their risk increased 10% for each additional behavior (p = .013). The intervention appeared to mitigate this "threshold effect"; number of problem behaviors did not predict risk of placement disruption in the treatment foster care group (p = .63).These findings replicate previous evidence linking child problem behavior to placement disruptions and further highlight the need for early preventative interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0024313

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293376900007

    View details for PubMedID 21787051

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3334279

  • The combined effects of prenatal drug exposure and early adversity on neurobehavioral disinhibition in childhood and adolescence DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Lester, B. M., DeGarmo, D. S., Lagasse, L. L., Lin, H., Shankaran, S., Bada, H. S., Bauer, C. R., Hammond, J., Whitaker, T., Higgins, R. 2011; 23 (3): 777-788


    The negative effects of prenatal substance exposure on neurobiological and psychological development and of early adversity are clear, but little is known about their combined effects. In this study, multilevel analyses of the effects of prenatal substance exposure and early adversity on the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition in adolescence were conducted. Neurobehavioral disinhibition has previously been observed to occur frequently in multiproblem youth from high-risk backgrounds. In the present study, neurobehavioral disinhibition was assessed via behavioral dysregulation and poor executive function composite measures. Data were drawn from a prospective longitudinal investigation of prenatal substance exposure that included 1,073 participants followed from birth through adolescence. The results from latent growth modeling analyses showed mean stability but significant individual differences in behavioral dysregulation and mean decline with individual differences in executive function difficulties. Prior behavioral dysregulation predicted increased executive function difficulties. Prenatal drug use predicted the emergence and growth in neurobehavioral disinhibition across adolescence (directly for behavioral dysregulation and indirectly for executive function difficulties via early adversity and behavioral dysregulation). Prenatal drug use and early adversity exhibited unique effects on growth in behavioral dysregulation; early adversity uniquely predicted executive function difficulties. These results are discussed in terms of implications for theory development, social policy, and prevention science.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579411000290

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293451100003

    View details for PubMedID 21756431

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3335443

  • Mitigating HPA axis dysregulation associated with placement changes in foster care PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Van Ryzin, M. J., Gunnar, M. R. 2011; 36 (4): 531-539


    Maltreated foster children often exhibit alterations in diurnal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity that are characterized by lower cortisol levels upon waking and smaller declines in morning-to-evening cortisol levels. Previous research has shown that this dysregulated pattern is associated with high caregiver stress levels over the course of foster care placements. In contrast, therapeutic interventions that emphasize consistent and responsive caregiving have been associated with more regulated cortisol rhythms. In this paper, two related issues were explored: whether placement changes (i.e., moving between foster homes or from a foster home to a permanent placement) were associated with more blunted daily cortisol rhythms and whether a caregiver-based intervention exerted a protective effect in this context. Because the intervention program has components specifically designed to prepare foster children for placement changes and to maintain consistent parenting techniques despite them, a prevention effect on HPA axis dysregulation during placement changes was hypothesized. The results of linear mixed modeling analyses showed that placement changes predicted dysregulation in cortisol rhythms in the regular foster care group but not in the intervention foster care group. These findings are discussed in terms of implications for child welfare policy and practice.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.08.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288922300011

    View details for PubMedID 20888698

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3610565

  • Prereading Deficits in Children in Foster Care SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW Pears, K. C., Heywood, C. V., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2011; 40 (1): 140-148


    Reading skills are core competencies in children's readiness to learn and may be particularly important for children in foster care, who are at risk for academic difficulties and higher rates of special education placement. In this study, prereading skills (phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and oral language ability) and kindergarten performance of 63 children in foster care were examined just prior to and during the fall of kindergarten. The children exhibited prereading deficits with average prereading scores that fell at the 30(th) to 40(th) percentile. Variations in prereading skills (particularly phonological awareness) predicted kindergarten teacher ratings of early literacy skills in a multivariate path analysis. These findings highlight the need for interventions focused on prereading skills for children in foster care.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289012200009

    View details for PubMedID 21869854

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3159895

  • Dissociation in middle childhood among foster children with early maltreatment experiences CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT Hulette, A. C., Freyd, J. J., Fisher, P. A. 2011; 35 (2): 123-126

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.10.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288884600006

    View details for PubMedID 21354620

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3073131

  • The Effects of Early Adversity on the Development of Inhibitory Control: Implications for the Design of Preventive Interventions and the Potential Recovery of Function INHIBITORY CONTROL AND DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION: FROM RESEARCH TO TRANSLATION Fisher, P. A., Bruce, J., Abdullaev, Y., Mannering, A. M., Pears, K. C., Bardo, M. T., Fishbein, D. H., Milich, R. 2011: 229-247
  • Trajectories of maternal harsh parenting in the first 3 years of life CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT Kim, H. K., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Connelly, C. D., Landsverk, J. A. 2010; 34 (12): 897-906


    Despite the high prevalence rates of harsh parenting, the nature of developmental change in this domain early in life and the factors that contribute to changes in harsh parenting over time are not well understood. The present study examined developmental patterns in maternal harsh parenting behavior from birth to age 3 years and their related longitudinal risk factors (contextual and intrapersonal). Partner aggression was also tested as a time-varying predictor to examine its time-specific influence on maternal harsh parenting.Longitudinal data from 4 assessments of a community sample of 488 at-risk mothers were analyzed using latent growth curve modeling. Maternal risk factors and harsh parenting behaviors were assessed at birth and at ages 1, 2, and 3 years.There was a significant increase in maternal harsh parenting from birth to age 3, particularly between ages 1 and 2. There was a significant direct effect of maternal alcohol use and abuse history on maternal harsh parenting at age 3, and maternal age was positively associated with change in maternal harsh parenting over time. In addition, partner aggression was significantly and positively associated with maternal harsh parenting at each time point.The findings suggest possible developmental trends in the emergence of maternal harsh parenting during infancy and toddlerhood. Further investigation is needed to elucidate individual differences in the developmental patterns and to differentiate predictive factors that persist across time and factors that are unique to specific developmental stages.The overall high prevalence rates of harsh parenting behavior and growth of such behavior in infancy and toddlerhood support the need for developmentally sensitive early intervention programs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.06.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286037600001

    View details for PubMedID 21030081

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2993830

  • Associations Between Sleep and Inattentive/Hyperactive Problem Behavior Among Foster and Community Children JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS Tininenko, J. R., Fisher, P. A., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C. 2010; 31 (8): 668-674


    Sleep disruption has been linked to numerous neural regulatory problems and problems with social emotional and behavioral functioning, and researchers have shown that sleep disruption is prominent in children with symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. These issues are germane to foster children, who have numerous disparities in areas of self-regulation and psychopathology but for whom there has been very little examination of sleep quality or the associations between poor sleep quality and physiological/behavioral dysregulation.Actigraphy measures were used to examine associations between sleep duration/quality and inattentive/hyperactive problem behavior in a sample of 79 children (aged 5-7 years): 32 foster children and 47 nonmaltreated community children.Of the sleep variables examined, only sleep duration was significantly associated with inattentive/hyperactive problem behavior. These associations were more significant in foster children compared to community children and in boys compared to girls.The results have several implications for prevention and intervention research.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181f1773b

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283393100006

    View details for PubMedID 20814340

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3467199

  • Early Elementary School Adjustment of Maltreated Children in Foster Care: The Roles of Inhibitory Control and Caregiver Involvement CHILD DEVELOPMENT Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Bruce, J., Kim, H. K., Yoerger, K. 2010; 81 (5): 1550-1564


    In this study, 85 maltreated foster children and 56 non-maltreated community children (M age=3-6 years) were assessed across kindergarten and first grade to examine the hypothesis that inhibitory control and caregiver involvement mediate associations between a history of maltreatment and foster placement and early school adjustment. Specifically, academic and social-emotional competence were evaluated. The maltreated foster children performed more poorly in academic and social-emotional competence. Inhibitory control fully mediated the association of maltreatment and foster placement with academic competence, whereas inhibitory control and caregiver involvement mediated their association with social-emotional competence. The results suggest that inhibitory control and caregiver involvement might be promising targets for school readiness interventions for foster preschoolers.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01491.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281853100016

    View details for PubMedID 20840240

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2941223

  • Sleep Disruption in Young Foster Children CHILD PSYCHIATRY & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Tininenko, J. R., Fisher, P. A., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C. 2010; 41 (4): 409-424


    In the current study, sleep actigraphy and parent-report measures were used to investigate differences in sleeping behavior among four groups of 3- to 7-year-olds (N = 79): children in regular foster care (n = 15); children receiving a therapeutic intervention in foster care (n = 17); low income community children (n = 18); and upper middle income community children (n = 29). The children in therapeutic foster care exhibited longer sleep latency and increased variability of sleep duration than the upper middle income community children. In addition, there was an indication of a treatment effect: the therapeutic foster care children slept longer than the regular foster care and low income community children and had earlier bedtimes, fell asleep earlier, and spent more time in bed than the regular foster care children. The results are discussed in terms of the effectiveness of early intervention for enhancing sleep in foster children.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10578-010-0177-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277165300005

    View details for PubMedID 20221849

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2864401

  • Indiscriminate Friendliness in Maltreated Foster Children CHILD MALTREATMENT Pears, K. C., Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K. 2010; 15 (1): 64-75


    Indiscriminate friendliness is well documented in children adopted internationally following institutional rearing but is less studied in maltreated foster children. Precursors and correlates of indiscriminate friendliness were examined in 93 preschool-aged maltreated children residing in foster care and 60 age-matched, nonmaltreated children living with their biological parents. Measures included parent reports, official case record data, and standardized laboratory assessments. Foster children exhibited higher levels of indiscriminate friendliness than nonmaltreated children. Inhibitory control was negatively associated with indiscriminate friendliness even after controlling for age and general cognitive ability. Additionally, the foster children who had experienced a greater number of foster caregivers had poorer inhibitory control, which was in turn associated with greater indiscriminate friendliness. The results indicate a greater prevalence of indiscriminate friendliness among foster children and suggest that indiscriminate friendliness is part of a larger pattern of dysregulation associated with inconsistency in caregiving.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077559509337891

    View details for Web of Science ID 000273775000006

    View details for PubMedID 19502477

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2810349

  • Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care as a Preventive Intervention to Promote Resiliency Among Youth in the Child Welfare System JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY Leve, L. D., Fisher, P. A., Chamberlain, P. 2009; 77 (6): 1869-1902


    Demographic trends indicate that a growing segment of families is exposed to adversity such as poverty, drug use problems, caregiver transitions, and domestic violence. Although these risk processes and the accompanying poor outcomes for children have been well studied, little is known about why some children develop resilience in the face of such adversity, particularly when it is severe enough to invoke child welfare involvement. This paper describes a program of research involving families in the child welfare system. Using a resiliency framework, evidence from 4 randomized clinical trials that included components of the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care program is presented. Future directions and next steps are proposed.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00603.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000271961300009

    View details for PubMedID 19807861

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2787781

  • Using Behavioral and Electrophysiological Measures to Assess the Effects of a Preventive Intervention: A Preliminary Study with Preschool-Aged Foster Children PREVENTION SCIENCE Bruce, J., McDermott, J., Fisher, P. A., Fox, N. A. 2009; 10 (2): 129-140


    The current study was designed to explore the use of behavioral (i.e., accuracy and reaction times) and electrophysiological measures (i.e., event-related potentials) to assess the impact of a family-based preventive intervention for preschool-aged, maltreated children in foster care. These measures were recorded during a computerized flanker task designed to assess cognitive control and response monitoring. The sample was recruited from a larger randomized efficacy trial of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (MTFC-P) and included foster children assigned to the intervention condition (n = 10), foster children assigned to a services-as-usual comparison condition (n = 13), and low-income, nonmaltreated community children (n = 11). The children's behavioral and electrophysiological performance on the task was generally consistent with previous research with adults and older children. There were no group differences on the behavioral measures of cognitive control or response monitoring. Notably, however, group differences were observed on the electrophysiological measures of response monitoring. Specifically, the foster children who received services as usual were significantly less responsive to performance feedback about errors than the foster children who received the intervention and the nonmaltreated children. Applications of this methodology and implications of the results for future prevention research are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-008-0115-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265308000004

    View details for PubMedID 19030992

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2670355

  • Effects of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (MTFC-P) on reducing permanent placement failures among children with placement instability CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Pears, K. C. 2009; 31 (5): 541-546


    The aims of the present study were to examine the effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers with histories of placement instability on permanency outcomes and to determine whether the intervention's effectiveness on these outcomes varied based on prior maltreatment experiences. Permanency outcomes for 52 children who had experienced 4 or more placements prior to study entry (n = 29 intervention condition; n = 23 regular foster care condition) were examined through 24 months post-study entry. The results indicated no group differences in permanency attempt rates but more than double the rate of successful permanency attempts for the intervention condition. The findings indicated that systematic interventions have the potential to impact permanency outcomes among children with prior instability.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.10.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265570500006

    View details for PubMedID 19430545

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2678807

  • Improving the lives of foster children through evidenced-based interventions VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND YOUTH STUDIES Fisher, P. A., Chamberlain, P., Leve, L. D. 2009; 4 (2): 122-127


    In the United States and England, the use of evidence-based interventions for children in foster care has the potential to decrease the widespread disparities in health and mental health outcomes, improve placement stability and increase the likelihood of children achieving permanency. Nevertheless, there have been few discussions about the systematic implementation of evidence-based practice to address different levels of need and risk in foster care. In this paper, we provide a framework for determining the types of programs needed for children with varied needs along a continuum that includes four categories of options: (1) screen and identify those who are functioning adequately in foster care versus those in need of supplemental services; (2) provide 'enhanced foster care' with additional resources for families and children; (3) implement interventions that target specific problems such as disruptive behavior or school functioning; and (4) implement intensive therapeutic foster-care programming. Examples of interventions in each category are provided, and implications for policy and practice are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/17450120902887368

    View details for Web of Science ID 000213948200004

    View details for PubMedID 20396626

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2853965

  • Morning Cortisol Levels in Preschool-Aged Foster Children: Differential Effects of Maltreatment Type DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A., Pears, K. C., Levine, S. 2009; 51 (1): 14-23


    Maltreated foster children are subjected to a range of early adverse experiences, including neglect, abuse, and multiple caregiver disruptions. Research suggests that such disturbances alter the development and subsequent functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system. The current study was designed to investigate morning cortisol levels in 117 foster children and 60 low-income, nonmaltreated children. Maltreatment and foster care placement experiences were coded from official records. Analyses revealed that the foster children were significantly more likely than the nonmaltreated children to have low morning cortisol levels. Additionally, specific maltreatment experiences were significantly associated with the foster children's morning cortisol levels. Foster children with low morning cortisol levels experienced more severe physical neglect than the other foster children. In contrast, foster children with high morning cortisol levels experienced more severe emotional maltreatment. These results suggest that specific early adverse experiences have differential effects on the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.20333

    View details for Web of Science ID 000262459400002

    View details for PubMedID 18720365

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2644049

  • Psychosocial and cognitive functioning of children with specific profiles of maltreatment CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A. 2008; 32 (10): 958-971


    Up to 90% of child welfare system cases involve multiple types of maltreatment; however, studies have rarely incorporated multiple dimensions of maltreatment. The present study employed a latent profile analysis to identify naturally occurring subgroups of children who had experienced maltreatment.Reports of maltreatment incidents for 117 preschool-aged foster children were classified along two dimensions: type (e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, supervisory neglect, or emotional maltreatment) and severity within type.The analyses revealed four distinct profiles showing moderate to high levels of maltreatment: (a) supervisory neglect/emotional maltreatment; (b) sexual abuse/emotional maltreatment/neglect (when not otherwise specified neglect refers to both supervisory and physical neglect); (c) physical abuse/emotional maltreatment/neglect; and (d) sexual abuse/physical abuse/emotional maltreatment/neglect. Profile membership was examined with respect to the children's cognitive functioning and externalizing and internalizing problems: lower cognitive functioning was related to profiles with neglect or physical abuse (or both), externalizing was highest in the sexual abuse/physical abuse/emotional maltreatment/neglect profile, and internalizing was highest in the profiles with physical or sexual abuse (or both).There appear to be distinct profiles of maltreatment among preschoolers that have differential associations to measures of adjustment. Policy and practice implications and future research directions are discussed.Using different profiles of maltreatment to understand specific vulnerabilities may guide in tailoring interventions to the needs of maltreated children.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.12.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000261256200007

    View details for PubMedID 18995901

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2586616

  • Intervention effects on foster parent stress: Associations with child cortisol levels DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Stoolmiller, M. 2008; 20 (3): 1003-1021


    Foster children exhibit high rates of atypical neuroendocrine functioning compared to children in the general population. In particular, alterations in the daytime diurnal activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis have been observed in foster children, often characterized by blunted salivary cortisol levels (i.e., low morning levels that remain low throughout the day). There is emerging evidence that therapeutic interventions for foster children can affect this pattern of HPA axis activity, but the specific intervention components responsible for change have not been fully explicated. Within a randomized trial to evaluate a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers (n = 57 intervention condition; n = 60 comparison condition; n = 60 community comparison condition), the present study examined whether diurnal cortisol activity was associated with caregiver self-reported stress in response to child problem behavior. Results showed immediate reductions in caregiver stress that were sustained through 12 months postbaseline in the intervention condition. In contrast, caregivers in the regular foster care condition showed higher rates of stress across time and increased stress sensitivity to child problem behaviors. In addition, among caregivers in regular foster care, higher self-reported stress was associated with lower morning cortisol levels and more blunted diurnal cortisol activity. These results provide evidence that interventions can simultaneously impact caregiver stress and buffer children from the negative impacts of caregiver stress on HPA axis regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579408000473

    View details for Web of Science ID 000257736100013

    View details for PubMedID 18606041

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3668550

  • Dissociation and Posttraumatic Symptoms in Maltreated Preschool Children. Journal of child & adolescent trauma Hulette, A. C., Freyd, J. J., Pears, K. C., Kim, H. K., Fisher, P. A., Becker-Blease, K. A. 2008; 1 (2): 93-108


    This study examines dissociation and posttraumatic symptomatology in a sample of maltreated preschool-age children in foster care. Analyses compared Child Behavior Checklist subscale scores for the foster care sample and a community sample, and also examined differences between maltreatment subtypes. Exposure to any type of maltreatment was associated with greater dissociation and posttraumatic symptomatology in this sample. Preschool-age children with documented sexual abuse displayed high levels of posttraumatic symptoms, whereas children with documented physical abuse tended to use dissociation as a primary coping mechanism. The finding that physically abused children had high levels of dissociation confirms previous research with preschoolers.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/19361520802083980

    View details for PubMedID 28255424

  • Reentry of elementary aged children following reunification from foster care CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW Barth, R. P., Weigensberg, E. C., Fisher, P. A., Fetrow, B., Green, R. L. 2008; 30 (4): 353-364


    A recognized goal of family reunification programs is preventing the reentry of children into foster care. Using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, this study examined reentry for 273 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. In multivariate models, reentry into foster care was associated with higher Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) scores and higher numbers of children in the household when the child is living at home. Although these are not the only risk factors that should be considered in deciding whether to reunify a child, these characteristics appear to be high valence problems for families and their children who are reunified. Future research on reentry and on placement disruptions from foster care should routinely include information about the number of children in the family and behavior problems when endeavoring to explain caseload dynamics.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2007.10.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000255234400001

    View details for PubMedID 21765570

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3134969

  • Dissociation in Foster Preschoolers: A Replication and Assessment Study JOURNAL OF TRAUMA & DISSOCIATION Hulette, A. C., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Ganger, W., Landsverk, J. L. 2008; 9 (2): 173-190


    This study replicated the Child Behavior Checklist factor structure of traumatic sequelae in maltreated children that was established by A. C. Hulette and colleagues (in press; see also A. Cholankeril et al., 2007). The factors represent dissociation and posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology. The present study also examined the extent to which these 2 factor scores varied depending on specific maltreatment experiences. Results indicated that children who experienced both physical and sexual abuse in addition to neglect had significantly higher levels of dissociation than children who experienced (a) sexual abuse alone or with neglect, (b) physical abuse alone or with neglect, or (c) only neglect. The current study provides evidence that children who experience multiple forms of maltreatment are more likely to be dissociative, perhaps due to a greater need for a coping mechanism to manage the distress of that maltreatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/15299730802045914

    View details for Web of Science ID 000207453100004

    View details for PubMedID 19042773

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5321167

  • Peer relations at school entry - Sex differences in the outcomes of foster care MERRILL-PALMER QUARTERLY-JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Leve, L. D., Fisher, P. A., DeGarrno, D. S. 2007; 53 (4): 557-577


    Converging research indicates that foster children with maltreatment histories have more behavior problems and poorer peer relations than biologically reared, nonmaltreated youth. However, little is known about whether such deficits in peer relations work independently or as a result of increased behavior problems, and whether outcomes for foster children differ by sex. To address these questions, multiagent methods were used to assess peer relations at school entry among maltreated foster children and a comparison sample of low-income, nonmaltreated, biologically reared children (N = 121). Controlling for caregiver-reported behavior problems prior to school entry, results from a multigroup SEM analysis suggested that there were significant relationships between foster care status and poor peer relations at school entry and between foster care status and the level of behavior problems prior to school entry for girls only. These Sex × Foster care status interactions suggest the need for gender-sensitive interventions with maltreated foster children.

    View details for DOI 10.1353/mpq.2008.0003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000255085500002

    View details for PubMedID 19234614

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2645072

  • Effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers on diurnal cortisol activity PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Stoolmiller, M., Gunnar, M. R., Burraston, B. O. 2007; 32 (8-10): 892-905


    Atypical diurnal patterns of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity have been observed in samples of individuals following early life adversity. A characteristic pattern arising from disrupted caregiving is a low early-morning cortisol level that changes little from morning to evening. Less well understood is the plasticity of the HPA axis in response to subsequent supportive caregiving environments. Monthly early-morning and evening cortisol levels were assessed over 12 months in a sample of 3-6-year-old foster children enrolled in a randomized trial of a family-based therapeutic intervention (N=117; intervention condition, n=57; regular foster care condition, n=60), and a community comparison group of same-aged, non-maltreated children from low-income families (n=60). Latent growth analyses revealed stable and typical diurnal (morning-to-evening) cortisol activity among non-maltreated children. Foster children in the intervention condition exhibited cortisol activity that became comparable to the non-maltreated children over the course of the study. In contrast, children in regular foster care condition exhibited increasingly flattened morning-to-evening cortisol activity over the course of the study. In sum, improvements in caregiving following early adversity appear to have the potential to reverse or prevent disruptions in HPA axis functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2007.06.008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251698100005

    View details for PubMedID 17656028

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2174427

  • Intervention effects on foster preschoolers' attachment-related behaviors from a randomized trial PREVENTION SCIENCE Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K. 2007; 8 (2): 161-170


    This study examined change in attachment-related behaviors among foster preschoolers participating in a randomized trial of the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care Program for Preschoolers (MTFC-P). Measures of secure, resistant, and avoidant behaviors were collected using a caregiver-report diary at 3-month intervals during the 12 months following a new foster placement. Children randomly assigned to the MTFC-P intervention condition (n = 57) showed significant increases in secure behavior and significant decreases in avoidant behavior relative to children assigned to a regular foster care condition (n = 60). Both groups showed significant decreases in resistant behavior over time. Analyses also revealed a significant interaction between treatment condition and age at first foster placement on change in secure behavior. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of early intervention and prevention services for foster preschoolers.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11121-007-0066-5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246232600008

    View details for PubMedID 17340186

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2533809

  • Child maltreatment and foster care: Unpacking the effects of prenatal and postnatal parental substance use CHILD MALTREATMENT Smith, D. K., Johnson, A. B., Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., DeGarmo, D. S. 2007; 12 (2): 150-160


    Parental substance use is a well-documented risk for children. However, little is known about specific effects of prenatal and postnatal substance use on child maltreatment and foster care placement transitions. In this study, the authors unpacked unique effects of (a) prenatal and postnatal parental alcohol and drug use and (b) maternal and paternal substance use as predictors of child maltreatment and foster care placement transitions in a sample of 117 maltreated foster care children. Models were tested with structural equation path modeling. Results indicated that prenatal maternal alcohol use predicted child maltreatment and that combined prenatal maternal alcohol and drug use predicted foster care placement transitions. Prenatal maternal alcohol and drug use also predicted postnatal paternal alcohol and drug use, which in turn predicted foster care placement transitions. Findings highlight the potential integrative role that maternal and paternal substance use has on the risk for child maltreatment and foster care placement transitions.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077559507300129

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246016900005

    View details for PubMedID 17446568

  • An intervention to promote social emotional school readiness in foster children: Preliminary outcomes from a pilot study SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Bronz, K. D. 2007; 36 (4): 665-673


    Foster children are at great risk for poor school outcomes. Given that school readiness is a powerful predictor of later school success, the promotion of school readiness skills in foster children is an opportunity for preventive intervention. Results are presented from a preliminary evaluation of a program designed to improve school readiness in foster children. Twenty-four foster children were randomly assigned to the intervention or comparison conditions. The intervention consisted of therapeutic playgroups (twice weekly for 7 weeks during the summer) focusing on social competence and self-regulation skills. Attendance rates for the playgroups are reported. In addition, group differences on data collected before and after the intervention are reported. Intervention group children exhibited increased social competence and self-regulation. Comparison group children exhibited poorer performance in these domains over time. Results are discussed in terms of how the study has informed a current randomized efficacy trial of a school-readiness intervention.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000255737200011

    View details for PubMedID 19057655

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2593470

  • Language delays among foster children: Implications for policy and practice CHILD WELFARE Stock, C. D., Fisher, P. A. 2006; 85 (3): 445-461


    This article highlights the centrality of language in early childhood development and the potential for language delays to negatively affect long-term outcomes in educational and social domains. Given the high rate of language delays in the foster care population, an emphasis should be placed on assessing language skills among children ages 6 and younger entering foster care. The authors describe several existing approaches to assessing language skills and discuss obstacles to the widespread implementation of systematic evaluation among foster children. Finally, the authors discuss the need for research and programming to establish evidence-based practices that encourage the remediation of language delays in this highly vulnerable population.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239983900001

    View details for PubMedID 16999381

  • Effects of therapeutic interventions for foster children on behavioral problems, caregiver attachment, and stress regulatory neural systems Fisher, P. A., Gunnar, M. R., Dozier, M., Bruce, J., Pears, K. C., Lester, B. M., Masten, A. S., McEwen, B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2006: 215-225


    Young children in foster care are exposed to high levels of stress. These experiences place foster children at risk for poor social, academic, and mental heath outcomes. The role of adverse events in stimulating neurobiological stress responses presumably plays a role in shaping neural systems that contribute to these problems. Systematic and developmentally well-timed interventions might have the potential to change developmental trajectories and promote resilience. Moreover, understanding how specific dimensions of early adversity affect underlying stress response systems and how alterations in these systems are related to later psychosocial outcomes might facilitate more precise and targeted interventions. Data are drawn from two ongoing randomized trials involving foster infants/toddlers and preschoolers. Consistent with prior animal models of early adversity, these studies have shown that early adversity-particularly neglect, younger age at first foster placement, and higher number of placements-is associated with altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. The interventions under investigation have produced evidence that it is possible to impact many areas that have been negatively affected by early stress, including HPA axis activity, behavior, and attachment to caregivers.

    View details for DOI 10.1196/annals.1376.023

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245807000017

    View details for PubMedID 17347353

  • Emotion understanding and theory of mind among maltreated children in foster care: Evidence of deficits DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A. 2005; 17 (1): 47-65
  • Balancing empiricism and local cultural knowledge in the design of prevention research JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH-BULLETIN OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE Fisher, P. A., Ball, T. J. 2005; 82 (2): III44-III55


    Prevention research aims to address health and social problems via systematic strategies for affecting and documenting change. To produce meaningful and lasting results at the level of the community, prevention research frequently requires investigators to reevaluate the boundaries that have traditionally separated them from the subjects of their investigations. New tools and techniques are required to facilitate collaboration between researchers and communities while maintaining scientific rigor. This article describes the tribal participatory research approach, which was developed to facilitate culturally centered prevention research in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This approach is discussed within the broader context of community-based participatory research, an increasingly prevalent paradigm in the prevention field. Strengths and limitations of the approach used in the study are presented.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jurban/jti063

    View details for Web of Science ID 000229974800006

    View details for PubMedID 15933330

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3455902

  • Developmental, cognitive, and neuropsychological functioning in preschool-aged foster children: Associations with prior maltreatment and placement history JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS Pears, K., Fisher, P. A. 2005; 26 (2): 112-122
  • The early intervention Foster Care Program: Permanent placement outcomes from a randomized trial CHILD MALTREATMENT Fisher, P. A., Burraston, B., Pears, K. 2005; 10 (1): 61-71
  • Tribal participatory research: Mechanisms of a collaborative model AMERICAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY Fisher, P. A., Ball, T. J. 2003; 32 (3-4): 207-216


    Although much social science research has been conducted within American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities, relatively little research has been conducted by or for those communities. We describe an approach that facilitates the active involvement of AIAN communities in the research process, from conceptualizing the issues to be investigated to developing a research design, and from collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data to disseminating the results. The Tribal Participatory Research (TPR) approach is consistent with recent developments in psychology that emphasize the inclusion of community members and the social construction of knowledge. We describe the foundations of the approach and present specific mechanisms that can be employed in collaborations between researchers and AIAN communities. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the use of TPR regarding project timelines and budgets, interpretation of the data, and ultimately the relationships between tribes and researchers.

    View details for DOI 10.1023/B:AJCP.0000004742.39858.c5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000186691400001

    View details for PubMedID 14703257

  • Interventions for foster parents: Implications for developmental theory DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Dozier, M., Albus, K., Fisher, P. A., Sepulveda, S. 2002; 14 (4): 843-860


    All children who enter foster care have experienced disruptions in their relationships with caregivers, and many have experienced maltreatment. Studying the effects of these adverse early experiences can inform developmental theory. In particular, insight can be provided regarding sensitive periods in the development of attachment and self-regulatory capabilities. The quality of surrogate caregivers varies as a function of both the intervention services provided and foster parent characteristics. Studying the effects of foster parent quality can suggest which aspects of child functioning are more or less canalized at various developmental periods. This paper considers salient developmental issues of infancy, preschool years, middle childhood, and adolescence and examines ways in which these issues may present special difficulties for foster children. Across development, foster care is associated with difficulties regulating behaviors, emotions, and physiology. Thus, conditions associated with foster care placement (e.g., disruptions in care, maltreatment) appear to affect very basic and fundamental regulatory processes. Interventions have been designed that target developmentally specific manifestations of regulatory difficulties. Although the literature regarding evidence-based interventions for foster parents is quite limited, preliminary findings provide some evidence that nurturing, responsive care can serve to partially remediate early deficits. These findings suggest that stable and nonfrightening care is essential for normal development. Nonetheless, even in the case of quite adverse early experience that results in problematic child outcomes, there is some evidence that the development of many systems remains relatively plastic.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S0954579402004091

    View details for Web of Science ID 000180016100009

    View details for PubMedID 12549706

  • The Indian Family Wellness project: an application of the tribal participatory research model. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research Fisher, P. A., Ball, T. J. 2002; 3 (3): 235-40


    This paper describes a family-centered prevention intervention for preschool-aged children-the Indian Family Wellness (IFW) project. The development, implementation, and evaluation of IFW has been based upon a tribal participatory research model, an approach that emphasizes full participation of tribes and tribal members in all phases of the research process and incorporates cultural and historical factors vital to strengthening American Indian and Alaska Native families. We present four mechanisms of tribal participatory research, describe how they have been applied in the IFW project, and consider the implications of this work for the field of family-centered prevention research.

    View details for DOI 10.1023/A:1019950818048

    View details for PubMedID 12387557

  • Preventive intervention for maltreated preschool children: Impact on children's behavior, neuroendocrine activity, and foster parent functioning JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY Fisher, P. A., Gunnar, M. R., Chamberlain, P., Reid, J. B. 2000; 39 (11): 1356-1364


    This article describes the results of a pilot study that evaluated the effectiveness of the Early Intervention Foster Care (EIFC) program in the period immediately following a child's placement in a new foster home.Data were collected from an EIFC group, a regular foster care group, and a community comparison group-each with 10 participants-via questionnaires for children and their caretakers and salivary cortisol sampling.EIFC foster parents adopted and maintained positive parenting strategies, EIFC children's behavioral adjustment improved, and changes occurred in several salivary cortisol measures. Moreover, regular foster care children exhibited decrements in functioning in several areas over the same time period.Results are discussed with regard to how such research fits into a larger program of prevention research for high-risk preschool children.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/00004583-200011000-00009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000090004400009

    View details for PubMedID 11068890

  • Neuropsychological characteristics and test behaviors of boys with early onset conduct problems JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Speltz, M. L., DeKlyen, M., Calderon, R., Greenberg, M. T., Fisher, P. A. 1999; 108 (2): 315-325


    School-age children and adolescents with conduct problems typically exhibit deficits in verbal IQ, language abilities, and executive functions. This study examined the extent to which this pattern was evident in a clinic group of preschool boys with early onset conduct problems who met criteria for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A 2nd question focused on the strength of relation between clinic boys' uncooperative or inattentive test behaviors and their test performance. As expected, the clinic boys showed a neuropsychological profile highly similar to the one found in older conduct problem populations. Verbal tests distinguished clinic from matched comparison boys even after controlling for observers' ratings of disruptive behavior during testing. Clinic boys with ODD and ADHD had lower verbal and executive function scores than clinic boys with ODD alone. After general vocabulary knowledge and test behavior were controlled, clinic boys were found to have poorer vocabularies for describing affective states than comparison group boys.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000080673600014

    View details for PubMedID 10369042