SAGE Journal Articles
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Learning Objective: 9.1: Identify patterns of physical and motor development during middle childhood and common health issues facing school-age children.
Abstract: Eating habits are established early and are difficult to change once formed. This study investigated the role of caregiver–child attachment quality and its associations with high-caloric food consumption in a sample of middle socio-economic status children and adults, respectively. Survey data were collected from an online questionnaire administered separately to 213 (143 girls) children and 216 parents (adult sample; 180 women). Two studies showed that an insecure parental attachment, whether actual (Study 1; children) or recalled (Study 2; adults), significantly and positively predicted high-caloric food consumption in both samples. The present findings highlight the importance of parental attachment and its association with unhealthy eating patterns in children and adults.
Learning Objective: 9.4: Examine patterns of moral development during middle childhood.
Abstract: Friends’ moral characteristics such as their moral reasoning represent an important social contextual factor for children’s behavioral socialization. Guided by this assumption, we compared the effects of children’s and friends’ moral reasoning on their aggressive behavior in a low-risk sample of elementary school children. Peer nominations and teacher reports were used to assess children’s aggressive behavior and friendships. During individual interviews, moral reasoning was measured by justifications following moral judgments and moral emotion attributions. Results revealed that, compared to individuals’ moral reasoning, friends’ moral reasoning was more consistently related to children’s aggressive behavior. Moreover, friends’ aggressive behavior mediated the relationship between friends’ moral reasoning and children’s aggressive behavior. The findings provide evidence for the important role that friends’ moral development plays in children’s behavioral socialization, and highlight the need for integrated, systematic approaches to moral development and friendship relations.
Journal Article 9.3: Broe, C., Rosner, M., & Matthews, D. (2017). What’s worth talking about? Information theory reveals how children balance informativeness and ease of production. Psychological Science, 28, 954–966.
Learning Objective: 9.5: Summarize language development during middle childhood.
Abstract: Of all the things a person could say in a given situation, what determines what is worth saying? Greenfield’s principle of informativeness states that right from the onset of language, humans selectively comment on whatever they find unexpected. In this article, we quantify this tendency using information-theoretic measures and report on a study in which we tested the counterintuitive prediction that children will produce words that have a low frequency given the context, because these will be most informative. Using corpora of child-directed speech, we identified adjectives that varied in how informative (i.e., unexpected) they were given the noun they modified. In an initial experiment (N = 31) and in a replication (N = 13), 3-year-olds heard an experimenter use these adjectives to describe pictures. The children’s task was then to describe the pictures to another person. As the information content of the experimenter’s adjective increased, so did children’s tendency to comment on the feature that adjective had encoded. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that children balance informativeness with a competing drive to ease production.