The Longitudinal Association of Adverse Events andWorking Memory Among Preschoolers: A Random-Intercept Cross-Lag Analysis

Rebecca L. Griffith, Austen McGuire, Jessy Guler, Sarah Nowalis, Yo Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Past research examining the relation between adversity and working memory (WM) has found mixed results and has been limited by methodological issues (e.g., cross-sectional studies, limited measurement of adversity). The present study examined how adverse life events may impactWMamong preschoolers who live in financially underresourced families and communities longitudinally over the course of 1 year. Method: The sample included 325 children (aged 3–5 at baseline), recruited because of their increased risk of exposure to high levels of adversity, and their primary caregivers. Children completedWMtasks and caregivers reported on their child’s exposure to adverse events in the past 6 months across three time points, each time point occurring 6 months apart. Associations between adverse life events and WM over time were explored using a random-intercept cross-lagged panel model. Results: No relations between preschoolers’ adverse event exposure and WM (B= 0.05–0.75, p=.056–.764) were found across the three time points. Conclusion: Results indicated that at the individual level, when controlling for stable covariates, frequency of adverse life event exposure and WM abilities were unrelated to subsequent frequency of adverse event exposure and WM abilities. Findings suggest that WM may continue to develop typically, in the preschool years, despite exposure to adverse life events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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