Children's self-regulation and their academic and social-emotional adjustment to school: The roles of executive function skills, attention control, and impulse control.

Open Access
Author:
Sasser, Tyler Roland
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
September 02, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • self-regulation
  • executive function
  • children
  • preschool
  • Head Start
  • attention
  • school readiness
Abstract:
Children growing up in poverty are particularly likely to experience delays in both academic and social-behavioral school readiness, a gap that continues to widen over time contributing to several adverse long-term outcomes. Recent research suggests that although these domains appear distinct, the development of early academic and social-behavioral readiness skills may be intertwined and largely dependent upon the development of children’s capacities for self-regulation. Although self-regulation skills conceptually underlie children’s school readiness and adjustment, studies have rarely examined longitudinal data to examine these hypothesized links from preschool across the transition to school. Collecting direct assessments of children’s executive function skills, as well as teacher and assessor ratings of children’s attention and impulse control, the current study documented combined and unique contributions of children’s preschool self-regulation to their concurrent and later academic and social-behavioral adjustment to school. In addition, the current study applied person-centered analyses (latent profile analysis) and identified four distinct self-regulation profiles among this sample of at-risk children attending Head Start preschools; the study documented group differences in concurrent and later school adjustment outcomes for children assigned to the profiles. Implications for developmental models, measurement strategies, and intervention designs targeting self-regulatory deficits and school readiness skills of at-risk children are discussed.