Using both traditional composites and novel profiles of anger, we examined associations between infant anger and preschool behavior problems in a large, longitudinal data set (N = 966). We also tested the role of life stress as a moderator of the link between early anger and the development of behavior problems. Although traditional measures of anger were largely unrelated to later behavior problems, profiles of anger that dissociated typical from atypical development predicted behavior problems during preschool. Moreover, the relation between infant anger profiles and preschool behavior problems was moderated such that, when early life stress was low, infants with atypical profiles of early anger showed more preschool behavior problems than did infants with normative anger profiles. However, when early life stress was high, infants with atypical and normative profiles of infant anger did not differ in preschool behavior problems. We conclude that a discrete emotions approach including latent profile analysis is useful for elucidating biological and environmental developmental pathways to early problem behaviors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies