Individual Differences in the Development of Self-Regulation During Pre-adolescence: Connections to Context and Adjustment
- 1.9k Downloads
Difficulties with self-regulation are implicated in the development of emotional and behavioral problems during adolescence. Although children’s ability to regulate their behaviors continues to improve throughout childhood and adolescence, it remains unclear how contextual risk factors might influence this development during the transition to adolescence, or how variation in the development of self-regulation predicts adjustment. Using a community sample of 214 8–12 year-olds (T1 M = 9.5, SD = 1.01), we examined growth trajectories of effortful control and impulsivity over three years and tested predictors and outcomes of these trajectories. Although predictors of initial levels of self-regulation were largely equivalent for both effortful control and impulsivity, contextual risk factors were related to variations in the development of impulsivity but not effortful control. However, increases in effortful control, but not impulsivity, were associated with level and rate of change in adjustment problems and positive adjustment, suggesting that different dimensions of self-regulation have different antecedents and outcomes in pre-adolescence and adolescence.
KeywordsEffortful control Impulsivity Self-regulation Growth curve modeling Adjustment
Support for this research was provided by NIMH Grant #R29MH57703 to the second author. Portions of these analyses were presented at the 2008 Occasional Temperament Conference in San Rafael, CA, the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development in Denver, CO, and the 2010 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence in Philadelphia, PA. The authors thank the families who participated in this study, and Nicole Bush for her contribution to this study.
- Achenbach, T. M. (1991a). Manual for the child behavior checklist and revised child behavior profile. University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, Burlington, Vermont.Google Scholar
- Achenbach, T. M. (1991b). Manual for the youth self-report and 1991 profile. University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, Burlington, Vermont.Google Scholar
- Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (1995). Technical report of the Neighborhood Questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
- Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., Fabes, R. A., Smith, C. L., Reiser, M., Shepard, S. A., Losoya, A. H., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., & Cumberland, A. J. (2003). The relations of effortful control and ego control to children’s resiliency and social functioning. Developmental Psychology, 39, 761–776.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gresham, F. M., & Elliot, S. N. (1990). Social skills rating system. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Kovacs, M. (1981). Rating scales to assess depression in school aged children. Acta Paedopsychiatry, 46, 305–315.Google Scholar
- Lengua, L. J. (2009). Effortful Control in the Context of Socioeconomic and Psychosocial Risk. Psychological Science Agenda, 23(1).Google Scholar
- Lengua, L. J., Honorado, E., & Bush, N. (2007). Cumulative risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 40–55.Google Scholar
- Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (1987) Statistical analysis with missing data. New York: WileyGoogle Scholar
- Mezzacappa E. (2004). Alerting, orienting, and executive attention: Developmental properties and socio-demographic correlates in an epidemiological sample of young, urban children. Child Development, 75, 1–14.Google Scholar
- Monahan, K. C., Steinberg, L., Cauffman, E. & Mulvey, E. (in press). Psychosocial (im)maturity from adolescence to early adulthood: Distinguishing between adolescence-limited and persisting antisocial behavior. Development and Psychopathology.Google Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2009). Mplus, 5.0. http://www.statmodel.com.
- Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). Antisocial boys. Eugene: Castalia.Google Scholar
- Reed, M., Pien, D. L., & Rothbart, M. K. (1984). Inhibitory self-control in preschool children. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 30, 131–147.Google Scholar
- Rothbart, M. K., Ellis, L. K., & Posner, M. I. (2004). Temperament and self-regulation. In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (pp. 357–370). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Sandler, I. N., Ramirez, R., & Reynolds, K. D. (1986, August). Life stress for children of divorce, bereaved and asthmatic children. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Silverman, I. W., & Ragusa, D. M. (1990). Child and maternal correlates of impulse control in 24-month-old children. Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs, 116, 437.Google Scholar