Linking Real-time Dynamic Processes to Developmental Outcomes

organizer: Tom Hollenstein

The fundamental quest of developmental science is to understand how moment-to-moment experiences of children relate to emergent and lasting structures of behavior. In this symposium, we present three methodological approaches to link real-time dynamic processes to normative and atypical developmental outcomes.

First, using state space grids Tom Hollenstein will review studies of real-time parent-child emotional dynamics that predict psychosocial well-being. These results will be framed within an emotion systems framework that construes these dynamics as indicative of emotion regulation and also emphasizes the importance of the interpersonal context for revealing individual differences in functioning.

Second, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff will examine longitudinal patterns of therapeutic change as a window into developmental processes. Using recurrence quantification analysis, she will show how a period of destabilization in parent-child dynamics is necessary for successful treatment change for children with behavior problems.

Finally, Mike Stoolmiller will examine the temporal contingencies within parent-child emotion dynamics using multivariate multilevel survival analysis. With this comprehensive approach, the probability of children’s or parents’ expression of one emotional state (e.g., anger) rather than competing states (e.g., sadness, fear, interest, affection) is used to differentiate those at greatest risk for developing psychopathology. Together, these three approaches provide a range of tools that are well-suited for directly testing long-standing theoretical predictions of the relations between behavioral dynamics in the moment and outcomes at the developmental-time scale.