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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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81. Associations between Negative and Positive Life Events and Psychopathology: Gender as a Moderator

Previous research finds that experience of negative life events (NLEs) is associated with higher levels of psychopathology. In contrast, little work has considered the relationships between positive life events (PLEs) and psychopathology. Moreover, there is longstanding interest in whether sex moderates the relationships between life events and psychopathology, particularly in youth. We examined whether interactions between (1) NLEs and PLEs, (2) NLEs and sex, and (3) PLEs and sex are associated with anxiety, depression, and aggression. Participants were 161 youth ages 9-11 (M =10.53, SD =1.48, 58.4 % female) who completed self-report measures of anxiety, depression, and aggression and had parent-reports of internalizing and externalizing problems. Youth also completed a semi-structured Life Events Interview to assess experience of NLEs and PLEs. We found no significant interactions between NLEs and PLEs or between sex and PLEs for either youth or parent report symptom outcomes. We found significant interactions between sex and NLEs for youth-reported anxiety. Specifically, there was a significant positive association between NLEs and anxiety for girls (b=0.74, SE=0.17, t=4.27, p<0.00), but not boys, (b=-0.10, SE=0.24, t=-0.42, p=0.68). These findings extend previous literature of differences between NLEs and psychopathology by sex to a younger developmental period.

Subhashini Madhavan
Temple University

Johanna D. Nielsen
Temple University

Thomas M. Olino
Temple University


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