Testing deprivation and threat: A preregistered network analysis of the dimensions of early adversity

Sofia Carozza, Joni Holmes, Duncan E. Astle

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Despite abundant evidence of the detrimental effects of childhood adversity, its nature and underlying mechanisms remain contested. One influential theory, the dimensional model of adversity and psychopathology, proposes deprivation and threat as distinct dimensions of early experience. In this preregistered analysis of data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we used a network and clustering approach to assess the dimensionality of relationships between childhood adversity and adolescent cognition and emotional functioning, and we used recursive partitioning to identify timing effects. We found evidence that deprivation and threat are separate dimensions of adversity and that early experiences of deprivation cluster with later measures of cognition and emotional functioning. This cluster varies by age of exposure; it includes fewer forms of deprivation as children grow from infancy to middle childhood. Our measures did not form a specific cluster linking threat to emotional functioning
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Science
Early online date8 Sep 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2022

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