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Examining Chinese kindergarten children’s psychological needs satisfaction in problem solving: A self-determination theory perspective

  • Heyi ZhangEmail author
  • David Whitebread
Original Research
  • 66 Downloads

Abstract

This study examined whether kindergarten children’s psychological needs satisfaction would mediate the relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s use of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategic behaviours. One hundred and thirty Chinese kindergarten children and their parents participated in the study. Parental scaffolding and children’s SRL strategic behaviours were respectively observed in parent–child interaction tasks and child-alone tasks. Drawing on self-determination theory (SDT), children’s satisfaction of three basic needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness was assessed using both behavioural observation and self-report measures. Among the three aspects of observed needs satisfaction, children’s observed satisfaction of the need for competence was particularly important, mediating all the relationships between three aspects of parental scaffolding and three aspects of children’s SRL strategic behaviours. Children’s perceived needs satisfaction, despite having some correlations with parental scaffolding and children’s SRL, did not mediate any relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s SRL strategic behaviours, which further revealed limitations associated with using self-report measures with young children. The study provides preliminary evidence of the mediating role of psychological needs satisfaction in the relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s SRL in problem-solving situations.

Keywords

Self-regulated learning Self-determination theory Basic psychological needs Parental scaffolding Chinese kindergarten children 

Notes

Funding

This work was funded by 2019 Comprehensive Discipline Construction Fund of Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11251_2019_9490_MOESM1_ESM.doc (164 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 164 kb)
11251_2019_9490_MOESM2_ESM.doc (77 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 77 kb)

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute (Department) of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of EducationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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