Sensory Processing Sensitivity as a Marker of Differential Susceptibility to Parenting

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Abstract

In this longitudinal multiinformant study negative emotionality and sensory processing sensitivity were compared as susceptibility markers among kindergartners. Participating children (N = 264, 52.9% boys) were Dutch kindergartners (Mage = 4.77, SD = 0.60), followed across three waves, spaced seven months apart. Results show that associations between parenting and child behavior did not depend on children’s negative emotionality. Sensory processing sensitivity, however, interacted with both (changes in) negative and (changes in) positive parenting in predicting externalizing, but not prosocial, behavior. Depending on the interaction, vantage sensitivity and differential susceptibility models were supported. The findings suggest that sensory processing sensitivity may be a more proximal correlate of individual differences in susceptibility, compared with negative emotionality.

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