The Biennial Meeting of Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) , Maryland, United States Of America, 21 - 23 March 2019, pp.315
Institutionalization is seen as a risk factor for intellectual, social, perceptual, physical and emotional development (MacLean, 2003). Although the care quality of institutions has an impact on child development, children’s innate characteristics like temperament may influence the susceptibility of those children to these conditions or contexts (Belsky, 1997; 2005; Ellis & Boyce, 2011). Therefore, the first aim of the current study was to compare the growth rate of gaze following and joint attention developments between institutionally reared and biological-family reared infants. The second aim of the study was to test the moderating role of temperamental characteristics in the growth rates of gaze following and joint attention across groups.
Children were tested at three waves with four-month intervals. Data were collected from 75 infants reared in institutions, 65 infants reared by their biological families. The age of the infants ranged between 9 to 18 months (M= 12.24, SD=2.70) at wave one. In order to assess temperamental characteristics (perceptual sensitivity, soothability, and falling reactivity/rate of recovery from distress), caregivers completed Infants’ Behavior Questionnaire-standard form (IBQ: Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003) at wave 1. Joint attention (Mundy, Block, Delgado, Pomares, van Hecke, & Parlade, 2007) and gaze following (Theuring, Gredebäck, & Hauf, 2007) of children were measured at three waves. Gaze following scored for “gaze direction” and “proportional fixation of the target toy”. Joint attention was scored for initiating joint attention (IJA) while the toy is active, initiating joint attention while the toy is inactive, and responding joint attention (RJA).
Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) was performed and time was centered at around wave 1. Table 1 summarizes the HLM results of joint attention. Linearity is checked for the data and IJA was found linear but RJA was found quadratic.
Time 1 results for IJA-toy is active showed that biological family group was marginally better at IJA compared to institutionalized children (p = .08). When the toy is inactive, children having lower levels of soothability showed better IJA. A two-way interaction between biological family group and frustration was found significant (p = .002). Children with low frustration who come from the biological group showed better performance at IJA compared to children staying in institutions (t = 2.82, p = .01). Children with high frustration did not show any difference at IJA across the two groups (t = -1.20, p = .23). Further, Time 1 results of RJA showed that older children (p = .03) and children with high perceptual sensitivity (p < .05) showed high performance at RJA.
Linear change of biological group*frustration was marginally significant in IJA-toy is active over time (p < .10). Simple slope analysis showed that (Sibley, 2008) children with low levels of frustration and staying in institutions had a better growth rate in developing IJA over time (see Figure 1).
Data analysis of gaze following task is in progress will be presented.
Table 1. Fixed and Randon effects Estimates of Predictors of Joint Attention