Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Soo H. Rhee

Abstract

Internalizing disorders refer to a range of anxious and depressive behaviors in which individuals direct their feelings and emotions inward. Nearly 10% of children meet the diagnostic criteria for at least one internalizing disorder by age 16. Given that symptoms of depression and anxiety in childhood are predictors of a full diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorders in adulthood, it is important to examine the etiology of internalizing behavior. This prospective study examined three temperamental constructs (i.e. negative emotionality, behavioral inhibition, and empathy) and cognitive ability in early childhood (ages 14 to 36 months) as predictors of internalizing symptoms in adolescence (ages 9 to 16 years) using data from the Longitudinal Twin Study (LTS). In addition, growth models were conducted to assess the trajectories of each temperament and cognitive ability. Results indicate that higher levels of negative emotionality and behavioral inhibition in early childhood are associated with a greater number of internalizing symptoms in adolescence. In contrast, higher levels of empathy and cognitive ability in early childhood are associated with a fewer number of internalizing symptoms in adolescence.

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