Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 27–38 | Cite as

The Overcontrol in Youth Checklist (OCYC): Behavioral and Neural Validation of a Parent-Report of Child Overcontrol in Early Childhood

  • Kirsten GilbertEmail author
  • Deanna M. Barch
  • Joan L. Luby
Original Article


Self-control is protective against psychopathology in childhood. However, too much self-control, namely overcontrol, potentiates risk. Overcontrol is a constellation of child characteristics related to high need for control, perfectionism, inflexibility, social comparison, and performance monitoring and is a transdiagnostic risk factor associated with psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. However, there are no quick and developmentally appropriate screeners to identify overcontrol in early childhood, when overcontrol purportedly becomes stable. The current study validated the Overcontrol in Youth Checklist (OCYC) in 4–7 year old children and examined relationships with cognitive, social, and psychiatric, neural and behavioral indicators. The OCYC demonstrated good psychometrics and was associated with deficits in cognitive shifting, social functioning, and preschool psychopathology. Higher OCYC scores were associated with a blunted ΔERN, an indicator of performance monitoring in preschoolers. Findings demonstrate the OCYC to be a developmentally valid measure of overcontrol that identifies this transdiagnostic risk factor early in development.


Overcontrol Early childhood Transdiagnostic Behavioral inhibition Error-related negativity 



The authors wish to thank the many parents and children who participated in the Parent–Child Interaction Treatment Emotion Development (PCIT-ED) study.


This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01MH098454-04; identifier: NCT02076425; K23 MH115074-01).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

KG, DB and JL have received research grants from National Institute of Health.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10578_2019_907_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological & Brain SciencesWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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