Psychology, Department of

 

Date of this Version

2005

Comments

Published in The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 2005, 166(1), 54–75. Copyright 2005 Heldref Publications. Used by permission.

Abstract

The authors examined the developmental course of self-regulation in a cohort of children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The longitudinal sample included 646 children (48% girls; 52% boys; 36.2% Black, 23.4% Hispanic, 40.4% White) who were 4 to 5 years old in 1986 and who were followed up at ages 8 to 9 and ages 12 to 13. Levels of self-regulation (assessed with 12 maternal-report items that measured regulation of affect, behavior, attention) increased from early childhood (when sample children were 4 or 5 years old) to middle childhood (ages 8 or 9), but not from middle childhood to early adolescence (ages 12 or 13). Girls exhibited significantly higher levels of self-regulation than did boys at all 3 time points. Individual differences in self-regulation were fairly stable across the 8-year span (rs = .47 to .50). Comparisons of 1-, 2-, and 3-factor models suggested that the different aspects of self-regulation are highly interrelated, and support adoption of a single-factor model for both genders. The authors discuss implications of these findings for theory and intervention.