"Developmental Trajectories of Youth Emotion Regulation and Self-Control: Insights from Mothers and Teachers"
SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: Developmental Trajectories of Youth Emotion Regulation and Self-Control: Insights from Mothers and Teachers (Poster)
Session: Social, Emotional, Personality
Authors: Kayla Puente, Nestor Tulagan, Sandi Simpkins, Deborah Vandell, Nicole Xarrett
Abstract: Emotion regulation (Koole, 2009) and self-control (Duckworth et al., 2014) have been studied both separately and in conjunction, with many studies noting positive outcomes associated with children exhibiting high levels in these characteristics, including low criminality and positive peer relationships (Pulkkinen, 2009; Banaschewski, 2012; Zeman et al., 2006). Though each of these skills develops over time (Blandon et al., 2008; Colman et al., 2006; McClelland et al., 2015; Murphy et al., 1999) and are positively associated (Tice & Bratslavsky, 2000), few studies have examined the associations between the developmental trajectories of emotion regulation and self-control across childhood and adolescence. Moreover, studies vary in reporters, with those focused on emotion regulation relying on either mother or teacher reports and those focused on self-control using mainly self-reports (Blandon et al., 2008; Kalpidou, 1998; Vazsonyi & Jiskrova, 2018; Burt, Sweeten, & Simmons, 2014). As such, these studies are typically limited by the inability to compare across reporters. Moreover, they often ignore the extent to which developmental changes in these characteristics may be perceived differently by socializers who are part of children’s proximal processes yet operate in different microsystems.
We used data (n=1,364) from the NICHD’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Youth’s emotion regulation was reported by mothers in 3rd-6th grades (α=.74-.78) and teachers in 4th-6th grades (α=.83-84; 10 items; Eisenberg et al., 1994). Youth’s self-control was reported by mothers in 3rd-5th grades and age 15 (α=.81-.83) and teachers in 2nd-6th grades (10 items; α=.88-.89; Gresham & Elliott, 1990). We conducted latent growth curve and parallel growth curve analyses, testing the associations between initial levels (i.e., intercepts) and change over time (i.e., slopes).
Though mothers’ and teachers’ perceptions of youths’ emotion regulation both indicated positive linear growth, the change in youths’ self-control varied by reporter. Self-control reported by mothers suggests a pattern of initial rise and gradual decline; however, self-control reported by teachers suggests a pattern of initial decline and subsequent rise. The linear slopes for emotion regulation and self-control were positively related across reporters. In relation to teacher reports, the parabolic slope for self-control indicates that there was a rise from 4th to 6th grade that coincides with the rise for emotion regulation. Subsequent tests, restricting the data from 4th to 6th grade, confirmed this trend. Other results revealed no significant relations between the slopes in either reporters for each construct. In sum, the present study highlights the developmental changes in and associations between youth’s emotion regulation and self-control according to two key socializers. Future studies should examine contextual factors that may predict these trajectories and whether inter-individual differences exist in these intra-individual changes.