Contributions of temperament and joint attention to social competence, externalizing, and internalizing behavior in normally developing children

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Peter Mundy - Committee Chair


Research has shown that infants' spontaneous coordination of social attention (Initiation of Joint Attention: IJA: Mundy, Hogan, & Doehring, 1996) and responses to the social attention bids of others (Responding to Joint Attention: RJA: Mundy et al., 1996) are linked to subsequent language and cognitive outcomes in both typically developing children and in children at-risk for delayed development. In addition, these joint attention strategies have been found to relate to social and behavioral outcomes in children at-risk for delayed development. It is still unknown, however, whether the links between joint attention and outcome are unique to joint attention development process, or whether these links can be explained in terms of a broader developmental process involving temperament measures of sociability and self-regulation. Thus, this study examined whether, first, IJA and RJA in typically developing infants were related to later social competence, externalizing behavior, and internalizing behavior problems, and, second, what role infant temperament measures of sociability and self-regulation play in predicting these same outcomes. All analyses controlled for cognitive status at 24 months. Regression analyses indicated that RJA, self-regulation, and social fearfulness were negatively related to externalizing behavior at 30 months. Analyses also found that RJA and self-regulation negatively predicted internalizing behavior at 30 months. Lastly, IJA and self-regulation positively predicted social competence at 30 months.


Psychology, Developmental

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text