Session Summary

Direct link:

1-168 - Infant Regulatory Problems and Developmental Trajectories into Adulthood

Thu, March 21, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 310

Session Type: Invited Address

Integrative Statement

All babies cry and they have to learn to console themselves, to learn to sleep through the night and overcome neophobia to accept solid food in infancy. This is often described as bio-behavioural adaptation. However, if the attempts at adaptation fail and continue beyond a normative period (e.g. excessive crying continues beyond the 3 months colic period), this indicates early regulatory problems, i.e. the inability to stop an ongoing behavior such as crying or waking at night. Around 10% of infants experience more than one regulatory problem at the same time, i.e. multiple regulatory problems (MRP). Although highly challenging for parents, MRP often occur despite sensitive parenting. New evidence will be presented that MRP increases the risk of dysregulation across childhood and has cascading effects on mental health in childhood, adolescence and even adulthood. These findings have implications for research on childhood self-regulation and clinical implications for treatment.

Sub Unit




Dieter studied at the University of Kiel (Germany) and obtained his PhD from the University of London. He has worked at different colleges of the University of London, the Universities of Munich, Hertfordshire, Bristol and the research funding sector (Zurich) before joining the University of Warwick (UK) in 2006.
His research is interdisciplinary, longitudinal and in the field of Developmental Psychopathology. His major research topics are: 1. early regulatory problems (crying, sleeping and feeding) in infancy and their long term consequences; 2. how preterm birth affects brain development and psychological development and quality of life; and 3. Peer or sibling victimization (bullying): precursors, consequences and interventions. He is joint manager of the Horizon 2020 RECAP-Preterm project involving 12 countries trying to improve the lives of preterm children. He received an honorary doctorate (Dr rer nat h.c.) from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, in 2014 for his contribution to Psychological Science.