Session Abstract: There is widespread recognition that level of personality functioning, defined in terms of quality of relationships with the self and others, impacts development toward positive adaptation or pathology (e.g., Bender, 2019). Affective expectations of the self, others, and the environment form in the context of attachment relationships in infancy and continue to develop across the lifespan through ongoing transactions between individuals and their environments (Sroufe et al., 1999). This paper examines associations between early childhood attachment security and adolescent personality functioning in a high-risk sample within a developmental psychopathology framework, taking into account transactional and cascade effects among separate but interrelated constructs – emotional and behavioral dysregulation and caregiver-child interactions. Data from 2,268 children (1165 male; 1103 female) and caregivers participating in Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCWS; Reichman et al., 2001), a longitudinal study following a high-risk cohort, are used to test three hypotheses. It is anticipated that higher attachment security at age three will predict lower levels of dysregulation and negative parenting attitudes and behaviors, and these constructs are expected to display relative stability across childhood and adolescence. Second, it is anticipated that dysregulation and negative parenting attitudes and behaviors will be mutually reinforcing, leading to higher levels of dysregulation and negative parenting, or vice versa, over time. Finally, it is hypothesized that greater attachment security in early childhood will initiate a developmental cascade toward higher level of personality functioning in adolescence via lower levels of dysregulation and negative parenting across early and middle childhood. In tracing these emergent processes, this study may identify antecedents that promote or undercut adaptive or pathological personality functioning. Moreover, understanding how these processes unfold over time can inform prevention and intervention efforts aimed at facilitating optimal development of identity, self-regulation of emotions and behaviors, and mutually enhancing interpersonal relationships.

Corresponding Author: Emily T. O'Gorman, MS | University of Toledo

Presentation 1 Title: Developmental Cascades from Early Childhood Attachment Security to Adolescent Level of Personality Functioning in a High-Risk Sample

Presenters: 

Emily T. O'Gorman, MS | University of Toledo

Gregory J. Meyer, PhD | University of Toledo

Emily O’GormanEmily T. O’Gorman

Emily O’Gorman is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, with a minor in quantitative psychology, at the University of Toledo, where she is mentored by Dr. Gregory Meyer. Broadly, Emily’s research interests include developmental psychopathology, personality development, and assessment of transdiagnostic factors and processes underlying psychopathology. She is currently involved in two lines of research, one focusing on dimensional assessment of psychotic thought processes and the other on developmental pathways to self and interpersonal dysfunction across childhood and adolescence. She is also completing her clinical placement at the University of Toledo Medical Center working in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Dr. MeyerDr. Gregory J. Meyer

Gregory J. Meyer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toledo, where he has been since 2003. Before this, he was at the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was the director of the inpatient and outpatient Psychological Assessment Service. He was the Editor of the Journal of Personality Assessment from 2002 to 2013. His research focuses on psychological assessment, with an emphasis on the integration of personality assessment methods. Much of his work has addressed performance-based measures of psychological processes, most notably with the Rorschach. With more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, he has made many contributions to the published literature in this area, as well as in psychometrics and assessment more generally. He regularly provides invited lectures and trainings internationally. On four occasions, the Society for Personality Assessment recognized him with Distinguished Contribution Awards for articles in the published literature. He also received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Assessment Psychology by the Assessment Section of Clinical Psychology (American Psychological Association, Section IX, Division 12). He is a Fellow of Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, & Statistics) of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for Personality Assessment. In addition to co-authoring the manual for the Rorschach Performance Assessment System, he co-edited a casebook entitled Using the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS).

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