Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Lynn Beck Brallier


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between early eye tracking and later non-suicidal self-injury, and whether this relationship was negatively impacted by distress and impulsivity, and conversely alleviated by emotional regulation and problem solving abilities. Briggs-Gowan et al. (2001) found that young children with recurrent and comorbid externalizing and internalizing problems have the most impairment; they exhibit greater difficulty with emotional stability, and require greater utilization of mental health services. Little research has focused on the relationship between eye tracking in early infancy and suicidal self-injurious (NSSI) behavior in early childhood. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine if eye-tracking in early infancy and later self-injurious behavior is mediated by impulsivity, distress, problem solving, and emotion regulation; for which child’s gender and income-to- needs as the control variables. Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD).

When examining the mediating influence of early eye tracking at 15 months in the relationship between self-injurious behavior at 15 years of age, distress at 54 months, impulsivity at 54 months, emotion regulation in the 5th grade, and problem solving in the 6th grade, it was found that these variables did not have a significant mediating effect. Although the hypothesized path model was the most parsimonious, the results suggested that impulsivity acts as a mediator in the relationship between SES and problem solving. As such, impulsivity may be directly associated with the functions of problem solving. The significance of this study is that it adds to the research that emphasizes the importance of understanding early markers (e.g., eye tracking in early infancy) for social outcomes and should be utilized by educators, parents, and early intervention programs to ensure social success for children. However, the results in this study should not be considered for the use of policymaking, given the limitations presented.





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