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Early social emotional competencies as predictors of internalizing problems in Latinx children


Ethnic disparities in depression and anxiety persist despite public health efforts to reduce them. This study focused on the development of internalizing symptoms in Latinx children to inform efforts to intervene early in this population. We assessed emotion knowledge, social skills, and withdrawn behavior as predictors of internalizing problems from age 4 or 5 through age 9. The study took place in New York City with 749 children of Mexican- or Dominican-origin (Mage = 4.93 years; SD = 0.57; 49% boys) who were predominately (92%) from immigrant families. We found main effects for withdrawn behavior in certain subgroups. Emotion knowledge was not a significant predictor of anxiety and depression. Findings underscore mixed support for the role of early social emotional competencies in internalizing problems in Latinx children and suggest the need for caution in implementing universal social and emotional learning interventions without careful consideration of culture and context. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
New York

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