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Linking Early Self-Regulation to Positive Functioning in Adolescence

Degol, Jessica (2013) Linking Early Self-Regulation to Positive Functioning in Adolescence. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Recent research has documented that high self-regulation in early childhood is associated with greater academic performance and more adaptive social skills, particularly in early or middle childhood. There has been far less work examining longitudinal associations between early childhood self-regulation and adolescent functioning. In addition, few studies have examined the development of self-regulation from a person-centered analytic perspective, such as grouping children into homogenous trajectory groups, and then linking group membership to adolescent outcomes. Finally, the mechanisms that drive the pathways between childhood behaviors and adolescent functioning have been relatively underexplored. The current dissertation, therefore, adds to the extant literature by exploring the association between structured assessments of early childhood self-regulation and self-reports of academic engagement and motivation, romantic relationship quality, and workplace behaviors in adolescence. Teacher-child and parent-child relationship quality in middle childhood were examined as potential mediators of these associations, and the parent-child relationship in early childhood was treated as a potential moderator. Self-regulation trajectory groups (as reported by teachers throughout early and middle childhood) were also examined in relation to these adolescent outcomes.
Research questions were examined using two U.S. samples, the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD; N = 1364) and the Pitt Mother and Child Project (PMCP; N = 314). Across both samples, assessments of early childhood self-regulation did not predict adolescent outcomes. Furthermore, the teacher-child and parent-child relationship did not mediate or moderate these associations. However, common self-regulation trajectory groups were identified across datasets, including a High Stable and a Low Curvilinear group (self-regulation decreased to age 9 and then steadily increased to age 12). Three additional groups emerged: for the SECCYD a Medium Increasing and a Medium Decreasing group; and for the PMCP a Medium Stable group.
Self-regulation trajectory group membership was predicted by demographic characteristics, with higher or improving groups generally comprised of White, higher income youth, and girls, and lower or declining groups more likely to include African American, lower income youth, and boys. In addition, the Medium Decreasing group reported lower romantic relationship quality relative to High Stable and Medium Increasing. Implications for practice are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Degol, Jessicajld91@pitt.eduJLD91
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBachman, Heatherhbachman@pitt.eduHBACHMAN
Committee MemberShaw, Danielcasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberYe, Feifeifeifeiye@pitt.eduFEIFEIYE
Committee MemberWanless, Shannonswanless@pitt.eduSWANLESS
Date: 13 May 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2013
Approval Date: 13 May 2013
Submission Date: 17 April 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 147
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: self-regulation parent-child relationships positive adolescent development early childhood teacher-child relationships academic engagement
Date Deposited: 13 May 2013 17:44
Last Modified: 13 May 2018 05:15


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