Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Local evidence synthesis on early childhood education
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2021) ; ;
    Tay, Fann
    ;
    Manasi Pande
      483  312
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Relationships of maternal plasma pro-vitamin A carotenoids and children's neurocognitive outcomes
    (2020)
    Lai, Jun Shi
    ;
    Cai, Shirong
    ;
    Lee, Bee Lan
    ;
    Godfrey, Keith M.
    ;
    Gluckman, Peter D.
    ;
    Shek, Lynette Pei-Chi
    ;
    Yap, Fabian
    ;
    Tan, Kok Hian
    ;
    Chong, Yap Seng
    ;
    Ong, Choon Nam
    ;
    Meaney, Michael J.
    ;
    Broekman, Birit F. P.
    ;
    ;
    Chong, Mary F. F.
      100  69
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Introduction to early childhood development and research in Singapore
    Education and well-being care are important throughout life, but especially so during early childhood, a time characterized by profound neural change. Importantly, early life experiences and neurodevelopment, in turn, lay the foundation for the subsequent ways in which neurodevelopment unfolds. As neurodevelopment is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, it is not surprising that the quality of early childhood experiences has been found to have short- and long-term impacts upon individuals and society. For example, early environments characterized by relative responsiveness from caregivers (Fraley et al., 2013; Raby et al., 2015) may lead to academic and/or social competence even into adulthood. On the other hand, early childhood experiences with poverty and/or low socioeconomic status, exposure to parental mental health difficulties, forms of insecure attachment, and abuse or trauma have been linked to outcomes such as lower levels of school readiness, attentional problems, and/or difficulties in socioemotional development (e.g., Psychogiou et al., 2020; Fearon & Belsky, 2004; Dearing et al., 2001; Enlow et al., 2012).
      338
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Grandparents’ and domestic helpers’ childcare support: Implications for well‐being in Asian families
    (Wiley, 2024)
    Sudo, Mioko
    ;
    Low, Petrina Hui Xian
    ;
    Kyeong, Yena
    ;
    Meaney, Michael J.
    ;
    Kee, Michelle Z. L.
    ;
    Chen, Helen
    ;
    Broekman, Birit F. P.
    ;
    Ranjani Nadarajan
    ;
    ;
    Tiemeier, Henning
    ;
    Setoh, Peipei

    Objective
    To investigate whether childcare support from grandparents and domestic helpers is associated with family well-being in Singapore, with a focus on parent and child psychological well-being as well as the quality of interactions and relationships within the family.
    Background
    Research on the implications of childcare support from maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents, and domestic helpers for family well-being remains a gap in the literature. This involvement could enhance family well-being through instrumental assistance and emotional encouragement in childcare. However, it could also create a negative emotional climate for families if the relationship of the mother with the grandparents or domestic helper is marked by conflict.
    Method
    This study used questionnaire data from 615 mother–child dyads from the birth cohort, Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes. The exposure variable was children's caregiving arrangements assessed at child ages 4.5 and 6 years, and the outcome variables were maternal well-being, maternal parenting, and family functioning measured at concurrent assessments, and child well-being assessed at age 10 years.
    Results
    Childcare support from maternal grandparents, but not from paternal grandparents or domestic helpers, showed concurrent associations with warmer parenting by mothers at child ages 4.5 and 6 years. Early childcare support from domestic helpers at child age 6 years predicted higher depressive symptoms in children at age 10 years.
    Conclusion
    Our findings suggest that childcare support from maternal grandparents, who are most likely to share a close bond and value system with mothers, could be most beneficial for families in Singapore.

      2
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    The importance of positive environments on infant and early childhood neurodevelopment: A review and preview of upcoming, "BE POSITIVE," research
    (Springer, 2022)
    Why do our brains change so much in early life? Why do they continue to develop over time? What are the implications of prolonged neural plasticity for interventions, learning, and childhood well-being? Humans live among ever-changing circumstances and therefore require extensive neurocircuitry supporting abilities to learn, regulate, and respond to information throughout life. Nevertheless, biological plasticity is energetically costly, and so it may be advantageous for infants to take a “best guess” at the type of environment in which they will likely be raised. Will it be dangerous? Will it be filled with unpredictability and a lack of control? Or, will it be comprised of support, certainty, and access to resources? These are important questions: different skills are necessary to succeed in different types of environments. In this chapter, we will consider how brain development unfolds, especially in early life. We will ask, why, from a biological standpoint, early experience impacts developmental trajectories. Next, we will specifically consider effects of the caregiving environment upon neurodevelopment and related implications for individual differences at school age. Gaps in the knowledge base, especially with regard to how such relationships unfold outside of low-risk North American and European homes and school systems, will be highlighted. The reader will learn about a new collaborative Singaporean study, “BE POSITIVE,” that aims to address these gaps starting in children 4 months to 4 years. Finally, we will consider ways such research can be applied to shaping interventions and policies aimed at increasing educational success and well-being.
      78
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Preschoolers’ emotion reactivity and regulation: Links with maternal psychological distress and child behavior problems
    (2021)
    Tsotsi, Stella
    ;
    Borelli, Jessica L.
    ;
    Backer, Mumtaz
    ;
    Veragoo, Noraini
    ;
    Abdulla, Nurshuhadah
    ;
    Tan, Kok Hian
    ;
    Chong, Yap Seng
    ;
    Chen, Helen
    ;
    Meaney, Michael J.
    ;
    Broekman, Birit F. P.
    ;
    Maladaptive offspring emotion regulation has been identified as one pathway linking maternal and child psychological well-being in school-aged children. Whether such a pathway is present earlier in life still remains unclear. The present study investigated the role of preschoolers' emotion reactivity and regulation in the association between maternal psychological distress and child internalizing and externalizing problems. Children's emotion reactivity and regulation were assessed through both observed behavior and physiology. At 42 months of age, children (n = 251; 128 girls) completed a fear induction task during which their heart-rate variability was assessed and their behavior was monitored, and maternal self-reports on depressive mood and anxiety were collected. At 48 months mothers and fathers reported on their children's internalizing and externalizing problems. Higher maternal depressive mood was associated with lower child fear-related reactivity and regulation, as indexed by heart-rate variability. The latter mediated the association between higher maternal depressive mood and higher preschoolers' externalizing problems. Overall, our findings support the role of preschoolers' emotion reactivity and regulation in the relationship between maternal psychological distress and children's socio-emotional difficulties. This role may also depend on the discrete emotion to which children react or seek to regulate as, here, we only assessed fear-related reactivity and regulation.
    WOS© Citations 4  31
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Maternal sensitivity during infancy and the regulation of startle in preschoolers
    (2020)
    Tsotsi, Stella
    ;
    Borelli, Jessica L.
    ;
    Nurshuhadah Abdulla
    ;
    Tan, Hui Min
    ;
    Sim, Lit Wee
    ;
    Shamini Sanmugam
    ;
    Tan, Kok Hian
    ;
    Chong, Yap Seng
    ;
    Qiu, Anqi
    ;
    Chen, Helen Yu
    ;
    Caregiving insensitivity and fear dysregulation predict anxiety symptoms in children. It is unclear, however, whether sensitive parental care during infancy predicts fear regulation later in childhood. To address this question, we asked whether observed maternal sensitivity, measured at 6 months, predicts 42-month-old children’s laboratory-induced fear responses (n=213) during a fear-eliciting episode. We predicted that higher levels of maternal sensitivity would be associated with greater fear regulation. We operationalized fear regulation as decreases in fear over repeated trials of a novel, potentially frightening, stimulus. Two aspects of fear responses were considered: expressed fear and startle. Expressed fear scores did not decrease over time but children exhibited less startle behavior in the second half of the task. Maternal sensitivity predicted this startle attenuation across trials. These findings highlight the contribution of maternal sensitivity during infancy to the development of fear regulation in early childhood, further suggesting its influence on offspring anxiety problems.
    WOS© Citations 8Scopus© Citations 6  111  189
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Variation in maternal sensitivity and the development of memory biases in preschoolers.
    (2023) ;
    Tsotsi, Stella
    ;
    Nadhrah Syazwana
    ;
    Stephenson, Mary C.
    ;
    Sim, Lit Wee
    ;
    Lee, Kerry

    Introduction: Links between maternal sensitivity, hippocampal development, and memory abilities suggests early life insensitive care may shape structures and schemas influencing future decisions and stress management, biasing children to negative information. While it is possible that this pattern of neurodevelopment may have adaptive consequences, for example, preventing children from encountering untoward experience with future adversity, it may also leave some children at risk for the development of internalizing problems.

    Methods: Here, in a Two Wave Study, we examine whether insensitive care predicts sub sequentially assessed memory biases for threatening (but not happy) stimuli in preschoolers (n = 49), and if such relations cut across different forms of relational memory, i.e., memory for relations between two “items,” between an “item” and its spatial location, and an “item” and its temporal sequence. In a subset (n = 18) we also examine links between caregiving, memory, and hippocampal subregion volume.

    Results: Results indicate no main or interactive influence of gender on relational memory. However, insensitive caregiving predicted the difference between Angry and Happy memory during the Item-Space condition (B = 2.451, se = 0.969, p = 0.014, 95% CI (0.572, 4.340)], as well as memory for Angry (but not Happy) items [B = −2.203, se = 0.551, p < 0.001, 95% CI (−3.264,−1.094)]. Memory for the difference between Angry and Happy stimuli in the Space condition associated with larger right hippocampal body volumes (Rho = 0.639, p = 0.004). No relations were observed with internalizing problems.

    Discussion: Results are discussed with reference to developmental stage and in consideration of whether negative biases may serve as an intermediate factor linking early life insensitive care and later socioemotional problems including an increased incidence of internalizing disorders.

    WOS© Citations 1Scopus© Citations 2  87  96
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Trajectories of reported sleep duration associate with early childhood cognitive development
    (2022)
    Cai, Shirong
    ;
    Tham, Elaine Kwang Hsia
    ;
    Xu, Hai-Yan
    ;
    Fu, Xiuju
    ;
    Goh, Rick Siow Mong
    ;
    Gluckman, Peter D.
    ;
    Chong, Yap Seng
    ;
    Yap, Fabian
    ;
    Shek, Lynette Pei-Chi
    ;
    Teoh, Oon Hoe
    ;
    Gooley, Joshua J.
    ;
    Goh, Daniel Yam-Thiam
    ;
    Meaney, Michael J.
    ;
    Schneider, Nora
    ;
    ;
    Broekman, Birit F. P.
    Study Objectives Examine how different trajectories of reported sleep duration associate with early childhood cognition. Methods Caregiver-reported sleep duration data (n = 330) were collected using the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months and Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire at 54 months. Multiple group-based day-, night-, and/or total sleep trajectories were derived—each differing in duration and variability. Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III (Bayley-III) and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test- 2 (KBIT-2) were used to assess cognition at 24 and 54 months, respectively. Results Compared to short variable night sleep trajectory, long consistent night sleep trajectory was associated with higher scores on Bayley-III (cognition and language), while moderate/long consistent night sleep trajectories were associated with higher KBIT-2 (verbal and composite) scores. Children with a long consistent total sleep trajectory had higher Bayley-III (cognition and expressive language) and KBIT-2 (verbal and composite) scores compared to children with a short variable total sleep trajectory. Moderate consistent total sleep trajectory was associated with higher Bayley-III language and KBIT-2 verbal scores relative to the short variable total trajectory. Children with a long variable day sleep had lower Bayley-III (cognition and fine motor) and KBIT-2 (verbal and composite) scores compared to children with a short consistent day sleep trajectory. Conclusions Longer and more consistent night- and total sleep trajectories, and a short day sleep trajectory in early childhood were associated with better cognition at 2 and 4.5 years.
    WOS© Citations 3Scopus© Citations 9  58