Faculty » Misaki Natsuaki

Developmental transitions can be challenging for some children. For instance, trajectories of maladaptive behaviors, such as internalizing and externalizing problems, take an upward swing during the transition from childhood to adolescence. This increase in psychopathology coincides with a time that a wide array of biological and psychosocial challenges emerges in adolescents’ lives, including going through puberty, navigating a complex world of peers, and renegotiating the relationships with family members.

I ask three fundamental questions in my research: why does psychopathology (both symptoms and disorders) increase during the transition from childhood to adolescence? When does it start and how does it develop over time? Why do some children experience such difficulties while others do not? In my view, potential answers to these questions may be found if we enhance our understanding of how biological and environmental factors operate together during this critical transition. Taking a developmental approach, I focus on the roles of puberty, biological and environmental origins of vulnerability to psychopathology, and family environment. Through longitudinal studies and a prospective adoption study (the Early Growth and Development Study: https://www.egdstudy.org), I, in collaborations with other scholars, examine how these factors influence the developmental trajectories of (mal)adjustment in children and their families.

Selected Publications

Dimler, L. M., Natsuaki, M. N., Hastings, P. D., Zahn-Waxler, C., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (in press). Parenting effects are in the eye of the beholder: Parent-adolescent differences in perceptions affects adolescent externalizing behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Dimler, L. M., & Natsuaki, M. N. (2015). The effects of pubertal timing on externalizing behaviors in adolescence and early adulthood: A meta analytic review. Journal of Adolescence, 45, 160-170.

Natsuaki, M. N. (2015). Intervention effect fades over time: When, how, and for whom? The Lancet Psychiatry, 2, 573-574.

Cicchetti, D. & Natsuaki, M. N. (2014). Multilevel developmental perspectives toward understanding internalizing disorders: Current research and future directions. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 1189-1190.

Natsuaki, M. N., Shaw, D. S., Neiderhiser, M. N., Ganiban, J. M., Harold, G. T., Reiss, D., & Leve, L. D. (2014). Raised by depressed parents: Is it an environmental risk? Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

Natsuaki, M. N. (2013). Puberty in context: Toward a more nuanced understanding of early maturation. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53, 677-678.

Natsuaki, M. N., Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Ganiban, J. M., Scaramella, L. V., & Reiss, D. (2013). Transactions between child social wariness and observed structured parenting: Evidence form a prospective adoption study. Advanced online publication. Child Development, 84, 1750-1765.

Natsuaki, M. N., Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Scaramella, L. V., Ge, X., & Reiss, D. (2013). Intergenerational transmission of risk for social inhibition: The interplay between parental responsiveness and genetic influences. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 261-274.

Natsuaki, M. N., Leve, L.D., & Mendle, J. (2011). Going through the rites of passage too early: Timing and transition of menarche, childhood sexual abuse, and anxiety (Special section on pubertal development), Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1357-1370.

Natsuaki, M. N., Ge, X., Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Conger, R.D., et al.. (2010). Genetic liability, environment, and fussiness in toddlers: The roles of maternal depression and parental responsiveness. Developmental Psychology, 46, 1147-1158. NIHMSID: 165798.

Ge, X., & Natsuaki, M. N. (2009). In search of explanations for early pubertal timing effects on developmental psychopathology. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 327-331.

Natsuaki, M. N., Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. A. (2009). Examining the developmental history of child maltreatment, peer relations, and externalizing problems among adolescents with symptoms of paranoid personality disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 1181-1193.

Natsuaki, M. N., Ge, X., Reiss, D., & Neiderhiser, J. M. (2009). Aggressive behavior between siblings and the development of externalizing problems: Evidence from a genetically sensitive study. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1009-1018.

Natsuaki, M. N., Klimes-Dougan, B., Ge, X., Shirtcliff, E. A., Hastings, P., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2009). Early pubertal maturation and internalizing problems: Sex differences in the role of cortisol reactivity to social stress. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 1-12.

Natsuaki, M. N., Biehl, M. C., & Ge, X. (2009). Trajectories of depressed mood from early adolescence to young adulthood: The effects of pubertal timing and adolescent dating. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 47-74.

Natsuaki, M. N., Ge, X., & Wenk, E. (2008). Continuity and changes in the developmental trajectories of criminal career: Examining the roles of timing of first arrest and high school graduation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37, 431-444.

Natsuaki, M. N., Ge., X., Brody, G. H., Simons, R. L., Gibbons, F. X., & Cutrona, C. E. (2007). African American children’s depressive symptoms: The prospective effects of neighborhood disorder, stressful life events, and parenting. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 163-176.

Ge, X., Natsuaki, M. N. & Conger, R. D. (2006). Trajectories of
depressive symptoms and stressful life events among male and female
adolescents in divorced and non-divorced families. Development and
, 18, 253-273.