Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Individual, Familial, and Sociocultural Determinants of Internalizing Psychopathology in Three At-Risk Samples

  • Author(s): Rodas, Naomi Viviana
  • Advisor(s): Baker, Bruce L
  • et al.
No data is associated with this publication.

We aimed to examine Processes (i.e., parenting and early life stress), Person factors (i.e., child delay status, temperament, and ethnicity), and Context factors (i.e., socioeconomic status, acculturation, and familism) involved in the development of internalizing psychopathology. We advanced these aims in samples of children with or without intellectual disability from the Collaborative Family Study, children from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation project, and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from UCR’s SEARCH Autism Resource Center.

In Study 1, we sought to examine longitudinally whether negative parenting and early life stress mediated the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and internalizing symptoms. We also sought to determine whether ethnicity (Latino vs. White) moderated these relationships. Negative parenting uniquely mediated the relationship between SES and internalizing behavior problems. Ethnicity moderated the indirect effect from SES to internalizing behavior problems through negative parenting, wherein SES was inversely associated with negative parenting, which in turn was positively associated with internalizing behavior problems for White children, but not for Latino children.

In Study 2, we utilized latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) to examine the developmental trajectory of anxiety symptoms (ages 3-13) and to examine the individual and interactive effects of variables measured in early childhood (i.e., child delay status, temperament, ethnicity, and negative parenting) in predicting age 3 anxiety symptoms and change in anxiety. On average, anxiety symptoms increased overall from early childhood to adolescence. Child delay status and social fearfulness predicted initial levels of anxiety symptoms at age 3. Additionally, anxiety symptoms increased at a slower rate for Latino children as compared to White children. There was also a significant interaction effect between child delay status and negative parenting on change in anxiety symptoms age 3 to 13 years.

In Study 3, we examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and anxiety symptoms in children with ASD, and we examined the extent to which anxiety symptomatology varied by child ethnicity (Latino vs. White). Additionally, we examined a moderation model linking maternal acculturation/enculturation, familism, and child anxiety symptoms in Latino families. Socioeconomic status was inversely associated with child anxiety symptoms. We also found that Latino and White children with ASD did not differ in their anxiety symptom levels. Lastly, maternal familism moderated the relationship between enculturation and child anxiety in Latino families of children with ASD. The present dissertation findings inform early intervention targets for culturally diverse families of children at-risk for developing internalizing disorders.

Main Content

This item is under embargo until August 11, 2022.