Does Preschool Self-Regulation Predict Later Behavior Problems in General or Specific Problem Behaviors? – Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

ABSTRACT

Findings from prior research have consistently indicated significant associations between self-regulation and externalizing behaviors. Significant associations have also been reported between children’s language skills and both externalizing behaviors and self-regulation. Few studies to date, however, have examined these relations longitudinally, simultaneously, or with respect to unique clusters of externalizing problems. The current study examined the influence of preschool self-regulation on general and specific externalizing behavior problems in early elementary school and whether these relations were independent of associations between language, self-regulation, and externalizing behaviors in a sample of 815 children (44% female). Additionally, given a general pattern of sex differences in the presentations of externalizing behavior problems, self-regulation, and language skills, sex differences for these associations were examined. Results indicated unique relations of preschool self-regulation and language with both general externalizing behavior problems and specific problems of inattention. In general, self-regulation was a stronger longitudinal correlate of externalizing behavior for boys than it was for girls, and language was a stronger longitudinal predictor of hyperactive/impulsive behavior for girls than it was for boys.

SOURCE: Lonigan, C.J., Spiegel, J.A., Goodrich, J.M. et al.  “Does Preschool Self-Regulation Predict Later Behavior Problems in General or Specific Problem Behaviors?” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology [Early view pp 1–12]

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