A Longitudinal Investigation of Cognitive Self-schemas across Adolescent Development
Research in developmental psychology highlights youth’s self-schemas as one possible pathway to improve adolescents’ functioning and promote positive developmental outcomes. Despite this, the trajectory of positive and negative self-schemas is relatively understudied. This study addresses this limitation by empirically examining the trajectory of self-schemas in a community sample of 623 youth (M = 13.04 years; 54% female; 49% African American, 4% Biracial, 47% European American) who were followed over a seven-year period. Caregivers completed measures of parenting practices, maternal rumination and negative inferential style, and adolescents completed a computerized behavioral task assessing self-schemas (i.e., mental frameworks that guide attention, interpretation, and memory of one’s experiences). Multilevel growth curve modeling results demonstrated a quadratic slope for negative self-schemas and no mean-level change for positive self-schemas. These trajectories did not vary by gender or racial group. However, parenting factors differentially influenced the trajectories. Specifically, higher levels of parental involvement at baseline, or an active interest and engagement in a child’s experiences and activities, related to lower levels of negative self-schemas during adolescence. Additionally, higher levels of parental rumination and parental negative control at baseline related to lower levels of youth positive self-schemas at baseline. These findings contribute to models of youth cognitive development.
KeywordsCognitive Self-Schemas Adolescence Longitudinal Self-referent Encoding
B.M. conceived of the study, participated in the design and interpretation of the data, data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; T.A.B. participated in the design and interpretation of the data, data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; S.L.C. participated in the coordination of the study data and assisted with drafting the manuscript; T.M.O. participated in the design of the data analysis plan, assisted with statistical analyses, and performed a critical review of the manuscript; M.N.L. participated in the interpretation of the data and performed a critical review of the manuscript; L.Y.A. conceived of the larger study and performed a critical review of the manuscript; L.B.A. conceived of the larger study, participated in its design and coordination, and performed a critical review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH79369 and MH101168 to Lauren B. Alloy. Brae Anne McArthur was supported by a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Taylor A. Burke was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Samantha Connolly was supported by National Institute of Mental Health NRSA F31 Grant 1F31MH106181.
Data Sharing and Declaration
This manuscript's data will not be deposited.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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