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Effortful control as modifier of the association between negative emotionality and adolescents' mental health problems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2007

University Medical Center, Groningen Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam
University Medical Center, Groningen
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam
University Medical Center, Groningen


This study examined the extent to which effortful control moderated the risk of internalizing or externalizing problems associated with high negative emotionality in a Dutch population sample of pre- and early adolescents (N = 1,922). Internalizing and externalizing problems were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self-Report, and Teacher Checklist of Psychopathology. Temperament (effortful control, fearfulness, frustration) was assessed with the parent version of the Revised Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire. The effects of fearfulness and frustration appeared to be attenuated by high levels of effortful control. The associations differed between the two domains of mental health investigated: effortful control reduced the effect of fearfulness on internalizing problems and the effect of frustration on externalizing problems. The effects were stronger for externalizing problems and similar for preadolescent (age 11) and adolescent (age 13/14) outcomes.This research is part of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Participating centers of TRAILS include various Departments of the University of Groningen, Erasmus Medical Center of Rotterdam, University of Nijmegen, Trimbos Institute, and University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. TRAILS is financially supported by grants from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (GB-MW 940-38-011, GB-MAG 480-01-006, ZonMw 100.001.001, and NWO 175.010.2003.005) and the Department of Justice (WODC), and by the participating centers.

Research Article
© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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