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Temperament and Self-Regulation

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Introduction/Overview Description of the Issue Assessment Observations in Context: Children with Serious Emotional or Behavioral Problems Linkages with Behavioral/Psychiatric Profile Goodness of Fit Evidence-based Implications for Practice Models of Treatment Case Exemplar Summary Recommended Resources References

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The ability to control one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is known as self-regulation. Family stress and low adolescent self-regulation have been linked with increased engagement in risky sexual behaviors, which peak in late adolescence and early adulthood. The purpose of this study was to assess whether adolescent self-regulation, measured by parent and adolescent self-report and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, mediates or moderates the relationship between family financial stress and risky sexual behaviors. We assessed these relationships in a 4-year longitudinal sample of 450 adolescents (52 % female; 70 % white) and their parents using structural equation modeling. Results indicated that high family financial stress predicts engagement in risky sexual behaviors as mediated, but not moderated, by adolescent self-regulation. The results suggest that adolescent self-regulatory capacities are a mechanism through which proximal external forces influence adolescent risk-taking. Promoting adolescent self-regulation, especially in the face of external stressors, may be an important method to reduce risk-taking behaviors as adolescents transition to adulthood.
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The paper considers the definition of high quality preschool from a Vygotskian perspective. Similarities and differences in the issues faced in Russia and those in the United States are discussed as background. Three major ideas are considered from the work of Vygotsky and of his students/colleagues, Daniel Elkonin and Alexander Zaporozhets. The first is the Cultural Historical paradigm as the basis for defining development, which emphasizes the importance of underlying cognitive and social-emotional competencies. The second is the idea of “Leading Activity” with dramatic play defined as the leading activity for preschool. The third is the idea of “amplification” or enrichment rather than acceleration of learning. The article ends with a definition of quality based on these three constructs.
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Understanding temperament is central to our understanding of development, and temperament constructs are linked to individual differences in both personality and underlying neural function. In this article, I review findings on the structure of temperament, its relation to the Big Five traits of personality, and its links to development and psychopathology. In addition, I discuss the relation of temperament to conscience, empathy, aggression, and the development of behavior problems, and describe the relation between effortful control and neural networks of executive attention. Finally, I present research on training executive attention.
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Emotion-related regulation is a topic of considerable current interest; however, this was not always true. We briefly discuss the history of interest in the topic and then the current state of the field, including definitions of the construct. In addition, we summarize some of the important issues for future attention, including definitional issues, topics that merit attention, and methodological and design issues. This field of inquiry is flourishing, but it is one that is rapidly expanding and improving in the quality of the research.
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The role of attention processes as possible mediators between family environment and school readiness was analyzed with data from 1,002 children and their families. Data on children's sustained attention, impulsivity, and school readiness (i.e., cognitive, achievement, language, and social development) were obtained at 54 months of age, and quality of the family environment was assessed throughout the first 54 months. Mediation tests showed that children's sustained attention partially accounted for the link between family environment and achievement and language outcomes. Impulsivity partially accounted for the link between family environment and achievement, social competence, and externalizing behaviors. The roles of sustained attention and of inhibition of impulsive responding in the relation between family characteristics and school readiness are discussed.
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Explores the relationship between temperament and social behavior patterns of empathy, guilt–shame, aggression, help-seeking, and negativity in 80 children (aged 6–7 yrs). For a subset of the sample, predictions of these social behavior patterns from infant observations were also reported. Individual differences were found to be predictive of aggression, and relationships between effortful control and both empathy and guilt–shame. Results show that while internalizing components of negative affectivity (fear and sadness) are related to prosocial traits, irritable components of negative affectivity (anger and discomfort) are related to antisocial traits. Observations of infant temperament to later social behavior patterns corroborated data from parent questionnaire ratings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Bright Futures Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents was designed to assist health professionals in establishing partnerships with families and communities.
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ABSTRACT—Developmental research on emotion regulation is increasingly advancing toward a systems view that integrates behavioral and biological constituents of emotional self-control. However, this view poses fundamental challenges to prevailing conceptualizations of emotion regulation. In portraying emotion regulation as a network of multilevel processes characterized by feedback and interaction between higher and lower systems, it becomes increasingly apparent that emotion regulation is a component of (rather than a response to) emotional activation, that it derives from the mutual influence of multiple emotion-related systems (rather than the maturation of higher control processes alone), and that it sometimes contributes to maladaptive behavioral outcomes, especially in conditions of environmental adversity. The implications of this perspective for the developmental study of emotion regulation are discussed.
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In this study, self-regulation was investigated in 7- to 10-year-old children using three different measures: (1) parent and child report questionnaires measuring temperamental effortful control, (2) a conflict task assessing efficiency of executive attention, and (3) the mistaken gift paradigm assessing social smiling in response to an undesirable gift. Both efficiency in executive attention and smiling to the undesired gift increased over age. Executive attention was related to both parent-reported temperamental effortful control and smiling, suggesting links between attentional capacities, broad temperament measures, and social situations requiring attentional control.
Chapter
Why do we have a chapter on temperament in a volume primarily devoted to the concepts of attachment and affiliation? Years ago, such a chapter would have been unthinkable because attachment and temperament appeared to refer to different phenomena. Classic theories of mother-infant relations such as those of Spitz (1965) and Bowlby (1951) leaned in the direction of a “tabula rasa” model of the human infant by proposing that emotional and drive-regulating experiences provided by the mother were crucial for the formation and maintenance of ego functions. The individual differences these theorists were interested in were those resulting from successes and failures of maternal interaction, although on occasion they did invoke genetic and constitutional factors to account for unusual tolerances or susceptibilities to the ill effects of maternal separation. Individual differences in temperament, then, were relegated to a shorthand description of the susceptibility of the “tabula rasa” to experience—how hard or soft the tablet was, so to speak. Little speculation took place about how such differences in the infant could be assessed or whether they played a role in attachment.
Chapter
The early childhood years are a crucial time for the development of self-regulation - an array of complex mental capacities that includes impulse and emotion control, selfguidance of thought and behavior, planning, self-reliance, and socially responsible behavior. Self-regulation is also essential for children to meet the academic and social requirements of school. The human need for complex, flexible regulatory systems that can cope with a wide array of environmental conditions means that the development of self- regulation begins early, takes place over an extended time period, and requires substantial external support. Early childhood is also the "high season" of imaginative play, when make-believe evolves from simple imitative acts into elaborate plots involving complex coordination of roles. This chapter presents wide-ranging evidence that pretenseis pivotal in children's advancing mastery over their own thinking, emotions, and behavior. The data are based on the sociocultural theory of Russian developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who viewed social experiences such as make-believe play as prime catalysts of development.
Book
A parenting manual that is temperament-based. The book is full of practical strategies that improve children's behavior and parent/child relationships.
We call any activity of a person that creates anything new, creative activity. This includes the creation of any kind of inner world or construction of the mind that is experienced and observed only in humans. Looking at human behavior, we can distinguish two basic forms of construction. One form of activity can be called reproductive, and is closely connected with memory, its essence consisting in a person's reproducing or retrieving traces of previous impressions. When I remember the house in which I spent my childhood or a remote country I sometimes visit, I reproduce traces of the impressions I obtained in early childhood or at a time of a journey. In general, in all these cases this activity of mine is not creating anything new; basically, it is more or less just a return of what was.
Book
Recent years have seen tremendous advances in understanding and treating Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Now in a revised and expanded third edition, this authoritative handbook brings the field up to date with current, practical information on nearly every aspect of the disorder. Drawing on his own and others' ongoing, influential research - and the wisdom gleaned from decades of front-line clinical experience - Russell A. Barkley provides insights and tools for professionals working with children, adolescents, or adults. Part I presents foundational knowledge about the nature and developmental course of ADHD and its neurological, genetic, and environmental underpinnings. The symptoms and subtypes of the disorder are discussed, as are associated cognitive and developmental challenges and psychiatric comorbidities. In Parts II and III, Barkley is joined by other leading experts who offer state-of-the-art guidelines for clinical management. Assessment instruments and procedures are described in detail, with expanded coverage of adult assessment. Treatment chapters then review the full array of available approaches - parent training programs, family-focused intervention for teens, school- and classroom-based approaches, psychological counseling, and pharmacotherapy - integrating findings from hundreds of new studies. The volume also addresses such developments as once-daily sustained delivery systems for stimulant medications and a new medication, atomoxetine. Of special note, a new chapter has been added on combined therapies. Chapters in the third edition now conclude with user-friendly Key Clinical Points. This comprehensive volume is intended for a broad range of professionals, including child and adult clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, school psychologists, and pediatricians. It serves as a scholarly yet accessible text for graduate-level courses. Note: Practitioners wishing to implement the assessment and treatment recommendations in the Handbook are advised to purchase the companion Workbook, which contains a complete set of forms, questionnaires, and handouts, in a large-size format with permission to photocopy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(jacket)
Article
The principal objective of this research was to identify age-continuous features of temperament, across an age span from early childhood to late adolescence/early adulthood through the construction of a new temperament measure, the Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey (DOTS-R). Limitations of an extant temperament measure, the Dimensions of Temperament Survey (DOTS), were considered in the present scale construction research. A temperament questionnaire composed of an initial pool of 106 items was administered to three different samples-preschoolers, elementary school children, and late adolescents/early adults. The analyses included interrater agreement for content validity of items, item-total scale analyses, factor analyses, and the determination of internal consistency estimates of temperament dimensions for each sample. A nine factor model of temperament emerged for the preschool and elementary school samples, whereas a ten factor model emerged for the late adolescent/early adult sample. Supporting the factorial validity of the DOTS-R across the three age samples, results indicated high congruity for pairwise comparisons of factor loading patterns across samples, and moderate to high levels of internal consistency for each of the temperament dimensions across samples. Data supportive of the predictive validity of the DOTS-R for early and late adolescents are noted as well.
Article
Self-regulation is the key mediator between genetic predisposition, early experience, and adult functioning. This paper argues that all the key mechanisms underpinning the enduring effects of early relationship experiences interface with individuals' capacity to control (a) their reaction to stress, (b) their capacity to maintain focused attention, and (c) their capacity to interpret mental states in themselves and others. These three mechanisms together function to assist the individual to work closely and collaboratively with other minds. The paper proposes a reformulation of attachment theory constructs in terms of the quality of interpersonal interpretive functioning and the interpersonal strategies adopted by individuals to maintain optimal psychological distance between themselves and others, given their particular level of interpretive capacity.
Article
Researchers have suggested that individuals with autism have difficulties with self-regulation in early infancy, which may represent an early risk factor for autism. In this study, the authors explored self-regulatory behavior in young children who were later diagnosed with autism. Parents of children diagnosed with autism (n = 65) retrospectively reported on their children's self-regulatory difficulties at 1 year of age using the Temperament and Atypical Behavior Scale (TABS). One-year-olds with typical development (n = 120) from the TABS norming efforts served as the comparison group. Results indicate children diagnosed with autism exhibited significantly more self-regulatory difficulties at 1 year of age than did the comparison group. In addition, 86% of the parents reported that their children exhibited self-regulatory difficulties consistent with a diagnosis of regulatory disorder at 1 year of age.
Article
Effective regulatory skills are essential in busy preschool classroom environments where children must maintain some control over their emotions and behavior to interact effectively with peers and teachers. Regulatory abilities can play a crucial role in a child's successful adjustment to preschool. We investigated whether individual differences in dysregulation (emotional and behavioral) as observed in the naturalistic classroom context were associated with peer social competence and teacher ratings of classroom adjustment in a sample of low-income preschoolers. Naturalistic observational methods were used to assess dysregulated emotions and behaviors in Head Start classrooms. Findings demonstrate that although displays of observed dysregulation were relatively brief, about one-quarter of children showed high levels of dysregulation, and individual differences in dysregulated behavior predicted teacher-rated classroom adjustment and peer conflict. Research results are discussed with regard to implications for classroom practice and prevention.
Article
This study examined longitudinal associations between child temperament (fearfulness, irritability, positive emotionality, self-regulation) and parenting (acceptance, involvement, inconsistent discipline) in predicting children's internalizing and externalizing problems using a community sample (N = 92) of children (ages 8–11) and their mothers. Cross-reporter measures of all variables were created using mother and child report on questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses were used to test whether parenting predicted later temperament, controlling for prior levels of temperament and parenting, whether temperament predicted later parenting, controlling for prior levels of temperament and parenting, and whether temperament and parenting together accounted for subsequent adjustment problems. Child irritability predicted greater inconsistent discipline. Child fearfulness and positive emotionality predicted greater maternal acceptance. Maternal inconsistent discipline predicted greater fearfulness and irritability. The evidence suggests bidirectional relations between temperament and parenting such that inconsistent discipline may increase negative emotionality in children, and child irritability may evoke inconsistent discipline by parents. Fearfulness, irritability, acceptance, and inconsistent discipline demonstrated unique effects above all other temperament and parenting variables in predicting adjustment problems, suggesting that temperament and parenting are additive in their effects on child adjustment.
Article
Clinical research into the treatment of anxiety disorders, supplemented by studies and experiments on military samples, has led to a fresh construal of the concepts of fear, fearlessness and courage. It is suggested that fear is not a 'lump' but rather a set of three loosely connected components—behavioral, physiological, and subjective. Persistence in dealing with a dangerous situation despite subjective and physiological signs of fear is interpreted as courageous. Persistence in the absence of subjective and physiological signs of fear is interpreted as fearlessness. The successful practice of courageous behavior leads to a reduction in subjective fear and ultimately to a state of fearlessness. There is a small group of people who are particularly well suited to the performance of dangerous tasks by virtue of their relative fearlessness, but acts of courage are not confined to this select group. People are far more resilient than our theories have implied, and all people are capable of courageous acts in certain circumstances, including the most fearful of us. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In "Losing Control," the authors provide a single reference source with comprehensive information on general patterns of self-regulation failure across contexts, research findings on specific self-control disorders, and commentary on the clinical and social aspects of self-regulation failure. Self-control is discussed in relation to what the "self" is, and the cognitive, motivational, and emotional factors that impinge on one's ability to control one's "self." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a framework that highlights the links between the study of ethnicity and the study of family processes and therapy. In this chapter, the authors (1) define what they mean by ethnicity, race, and culture; (2) present the ethnicity-related dimensions that are most proximal to the understanding of family functioning and their links to family intervention science; (3) discuss how these dimensions change with acculturation and how the process of acculturation affects the family; and (4) articulate ethnic minority life experiences (i.e., immigration-related separations and racial discrimination) that are critical to understanding the attitudes and behavior families from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Throughout this chapter the authors weave the available literature with the experience of their 25-year program of clinical research with Hispanic, African American, and Haitian families. Recommendations on how the field can continue to develop knowledge in this critically important area are included. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Presents a further report from the authors' New York Longitudinal Study of childhood personality and temperament development. Nine basic temperament variables are identified, short questionnaires on temperament for parents of infants and parents and teachers of children aged 3–7 yrs are provided, and 3 basic temperamental patterns are described. Results of the study which support the hypothesis that children with certain temperamental attributes are more at risk for behavioral and developmental disorders are also examined. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This volume traces development of the human brain from infancy through middle childhood from the perspective of cognitive and affective neuroscience. We view the brain in terms of networks of neural areas that can be shown to be active when adults orient their attention or resolve conflict between competing thoughts or emotions. We ask how these networks develop and what their consequences are for the developing child and the adults with whom they interact. Because formal schooling plays such an important role in this development, we are particularly concerned with networks involved in processing the written word and in carrying out numerical computations. The first part of this volume provides a background for relating new developments to past ideas about the brain and education. The second part of this volume deals with the development of attention networks in infants and young children. The third part of the volume deals with what is known about brain changes during the learning of individual school subjects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined the construct validity of the Middle Childhood Temperament Questionnaire by R. L. Hegvik et al (see record 1983-07062-001). Using the data from the original development of the instrument ( n = 506) and another sample ( n = 362), principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation was used. Five factors were identified: task persistence, negative reactivity, approach/withdrawal, activity, and responsiveness. The internal reliability of the factors was examined in both samples as well as on a 3rd sample ( n = 89). The theoretical significance of the factors in relation to the expression of temperament during middle childhood (ages 8–12 yrs) is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The social functioning of 64 young adolescents (10- to 12-year olds) was examined in relation to negative emotionality and regulation during early adolescence, as well as two, four, and six years earlier. Young adolescents who were viewed as relatively high in social functioning (i.e., high teacher-rated school social competence; low mother- or father-rated problem behavior) were generally viewed as relatively low on negative emotionality and high on regulatory abilities during early adolescence as well as two, four, and six years earlier. Furthermore, negative emotionality and regulation during early adolescence, and in some cases at previous time periods, contributed unique variance to the prediction of social functioning during early adolescence. Young adolescents who were consistently low in social functioning across time were higher on negative emotionality and lower on regulation than were young adolescents who were consistently high on social functioning over time.
Article
This study investigated the socialization of children's emotion regulation in physically maltreating and non-maltreating mother–child dyads (N = 80 dyads). Mother–child dyads participated in the parent–child emotion interaction task (Shipman & Zeman, 1999) in which they talked about emotionally-arousing situations. The PCEIT was coded for maternal validation and invalidation in response to children's emotion. Mothers were also interviewed about their approach to emotion socialization using the meta-emotion interview-parent version (Katz & Gottman, 1999). The meta-emotion interview-parent version was coded for maternal emotion coaching. Mothers also completed measures that assessed their child abuse potential and abuse-related behaviors as well as children's emotion regulation. Findings indicated that maltreated children demonstrated fewer adaptive emotion regulation skills and more emotion dysregulation than non-maltreated children. In addition, maltreating mothers engaged in less validation and emotion coaching and more invalidation in response to children's emotion than non-maltreating mothers. Finally, maternal emotion socialization behaviors mediated the relation between maltreatment status and children's adaptive emotion regulation skills.
Article
This study examines the relation of maternal scaffolding and children's attention regulation abilities in preschool children from low-income families within the context of a parent–child interaction task and in a child-alone task. Maternal scaffolding behaviors differed for mothers of children with different attention regulation skills. Mothers whose children demonstrated poor attention regulation skills in the parent–child interaction were more likely to verbally engage their children, including more strategic questions, verbal hints, and verbal prompts. Children's level of attention regulation skills interacted with mother's amount of scaffolding to predict performance in the child-alone task. Attention regulation skills were related to independent performance only in the context of high maternal scaffolding. Findings contribute new information important for parent interventions to promote attention regulation skills in children who are at risk for poor academic achievement outcomes.
Article
This article provides a review and synthesis of concepts, research programs, and measures in the infant and child temperament area. First, the authors present an overview of five classi-cal approaches to the study of child temperament that continue to stimulate research today. Subsequently, the authors carve out key definitional criteria for temperament (i.e., inclusion criteria) and the traits that qualify as temperamental according to the overview and defined criteria. The article then reviews leading programs of research that are concerned with the ways in which early childhood temperament affects psychosocial development, both normal and abnormal. After touching on measurement issues and tools, the authors conclude with an outlook on child temperament research. Although modern research on infant and child temperament has its origins in the 1950s, it was not until the 1980s that it became one of the central themes of today's developmental psychology and child psychiatry. In a landmark round-table article (Goldsmith et al., 1987), the participants displayed considerable disagreement about what temperament is. It was obvious that, within the young temperament field, various schools of research were about to emerge. Twenty years later, the most important division in the field of child temperament is between an inductive approach to temperament, which favors the gathering of facts over broad concepts (Kagan & Fox, 2006) and a deductive one, which is more theory driven (Rothbart & Bates, 2006). The current review first describes and then integrates threads from several approaches to child temperament. We seek to identify common ground for definitional and substantive issues in the child temperament area. We also comment on measurement issues and conclude with some future directions. Because brevity of exposition was an important aim, the current review presents essentials rather than extensive treatments of concepts and findings.
Article
This study examined relations of temperamental fearfulness/anxiety proneness, attachment security, and maternal discipline with emerging internalization in 103 26–41-month-old toddlers. It was a further test of the model that proposed that child temperament (1) is an important underpinning of early internalization and (2) moderates the influence of socialization. All constructs were measured using multiple behavioral observations in several contexts at home and laboratory and parental reports. Fearfulness/anxiety was associated with several measures of internalization. There was also strong evidence of diverse pathways to internalization for children with different temperaments. For the relatively fearful/anxious children, maternal gentle discipline deemphasizing power, thus presumably resulting in an optimal, moderate level of anxious arousal, predicted internalization. For the relatively fearless children, however, security of attachment was associated with internalization. The findings are discussed within a framework proposing alternative pathways to internalization—one capitalizing on fear/anxiety and one building on positive, cooperative interpersonal set between the mother and child—with different pathways effective for children differing in temperament.
Article
To examine the association between an early inhibited temperament and lifetime anxiety disorders, we studied a sample of patients with major depression who were not selected on the basis of comorbid axis I anxiety disorders. One-hundred eighty-nine adults (range=17–68 years) referred to a tertiary depression unit underwent structured diagnostic interviews for depression and anxiety and completed two self-report measures of behavioral inhibition, the retrospective measure of behavioural inhibition (RMBI) [Gladstone and Parker, 2005] and the adult measure of behavioural inhibition (AMBI) [Gladstone and Parker, 2005]. Patients' scores were classified into “low,” “moderate,” or “high” inhibition. While groups did not differ in terms of depression severity, there were differences across groups in clinically diagnosed nonmelancholic status and age of onset of first episode. Those reporting a high degree of childhood inhibition were significantly more likely to qualify for a diagnosis of social phobia, and this association was independent of their scores on the AMBI. Findings are discussed in light of the existing risk-factor literature and support the hypothesis that an early inhibited temperament may be a significant precursor to later anxiety, especially social anxiety disorder. Depression and Anxiety 22:103–113, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
This study examines parenting by temperament interactions in predicting child adjustment. Participants included 40 first and second graders, their mothers, and teachers. Child report of maternal psychological control and hostility was assessed using the Child Puppet Interview. Mothers completed temperament scales from the Child Behavior Questionnaire, and teachers provided information on child adjustment. As expected, among children high in irritable distress, maternal psychological control was associated with internalizing problems and maternal hostility was associated with externalizing problems. Among children with poor effortful control, maternal hostility was associated with externalizing behavior. This study offers evidence that the effects of negative parenting are accentuated among children with temperamental vulnerabilities.
Article
Practitioners in early childhood settings meet diverse families and children on a regular basis. Their relationships with these families vary in strength and quality. This article reports a research study using the theoretical concept of goodness-of-fit to examine teacher–child and teacher–parent relationships and their impact on child outcomes within a Head Start population. The child's goodness-of-fit with his or her teacher on temperament characteristics was positively correlated with child cognitive and social outcomes. Also, teachers' and parents' goodness-of-fit on parenting and child characteristics was positively correlated with child social competence. The results and theoretical background are discussed within the context of early childhood education settings.
Article
The contributions of temperamental styles and emotional coping strategies to the development of preschoolers' social competence and behavior problems were investigated. The ability to cope with emotion was found to be more important than temperament alone in the development of prosocial behavior. Our results indicate that the use of passive coping strategies may play a significant role in the development of maladaptive behaviors in young children. Specifically, the use of passive coping strategies was found to moderate the relationship between temperament dimensions in predicting externalizing and internalizing maladaptive behaviors. When combined with extremely negative temperamental dispositions, just facing the problems was discovered to be beneficial for preschoolers, which encourages the use of preventative or interventional strategies in the classroom to develop constructive emotion regulation skills in young children.
Article
This study examined relations among effortful control, motivation, and attention regulation in preschoolers within the context of parent–child interactions. Sixty-one low-income children and their mothers participated in a puzzle-matching task. One week later, the children completed a puzzle-matching task independently. Hierarchical regression analyses supported the hypothesis that children's effortful control and motivation is related to the amount of children's attention regulation in the parent–child interaction. The role of effortful control on attention regulation differed for children classified as having mastery- or performance-oriented motivation. Analyses also supported the hypothesis that children's effortful control, motivation and attention regulation predicted children's accuracy on the puzzle-task when working independently. Findings from this study demonstrate the utility of studying individual differences in temperament, motivation, and attention regulation within the context of the parent–child learning environment. Implications for understanding how children's social–cognitive status is related to academic success in impoverished environments are discussed.