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The Fate of Early Experience Following Developmental Change: Longitudinal Approaches to Individual Adaptation in Childhood

L. Alan Sroufe, Byron Egeland and Terri Kreutzer
Child Development
Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 1363-1373
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130748
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130748
Page Count: 11
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The Fate of Early Experience Following Developmental Change: Longitudinal Approaches to Individual Adaptation in Childhood
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Abstract

2 strategies were used to investigate the continued impact of early experience and adaptation given subsequent experience and/or developmental change in a poverty sample (N = 190). Groups were defined whose adaptation was similar during the preschool years but consistently different earlier; then these 2 groups were compared in elementary school. In addition, a series of regression analyses was performed in which variance accounted for by near-in or contemporary predictors of adaptation in middle childhood was removed before adding earlier adaptation in subsequent steps. Children showing positive adaptation in the infant/toddler period showed greater rebound in the elementary school years, despite poor functioning in the preschool period. Regression analyses revealed some incremental power of early predictors with intermediate predictors removed. The results were interpreted as supporting Bowlby's thesis that adaptation is always a product of both developmental history and current circumstances. While this research cannot resolve such a complicated issue, it does point to the need for complex formulations to guide research on individual development.

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