Three essays on environmental contexts that support self-regulation
- In recent years, a widespread interest in self-regulation has increased our knowledge on how these skills effect human development. Self-regulation is a broad, multi-dimensional construct consisting of processes that allow individuals to maintain optimal levels of emotional, motivational, and cognitive arousal for positive adjustment and adaptation. The application of self-regulatory skills permits children to actively engage with their environments and there is growing evidence that these skills provide a foundation for children's academic achievement and social behaviors. This dissertation examines self-regulation in context -- that is, it investigates the mechanisms by which environments may shape or support self-regulation across multiple levels of analysis in three independent papers. The first paper examines the classroom environment as children transition into kindergarten. I find that children with self-regulatory challenges experienced greater conflict with teachers at the end of the year and this effect persisted into first grade. Low self-regulation also predicted less closeness with first grade teachers, indicating that children's challenges regulating their behavior may result in a lessening of positive experiences with teachers. These findings highlight the importance of examining not only how the interplay between self-regulation and the classroom environment influences children's early school experiences, but also the importance of studying children's experiences before they enter school. The second paper examines the family context as this is children's first learning environment. In particular, it examines positive caregiving behaviors that are known to influence children's self-regulation but specifically asks how maternal self-regulation promotes these caregiving behaviors in a context of high disadvantage. Maternal self-regulatory skills provide an important foundation for the quality of care a mother exhibits towards her child and her effectiveness in regulating the environment and her child's behavior. I find that maternal education and family wealth are highly related to positive caregiving behaviors, and that maternal self-regulatory skills mediated those relations, after controlling for maternal intelligence. The third paper examines how children's self-regulation is directly influenced by the family environment. Children's cultural backgrounds and home environments may expose them to learning more than one language and there is now considerable evidence that the ability to speak two languages increases self-regulatory skills. Specifically, this paper examines whether children's individual characteristics makes them more susceptible to the cognitive advantages afforded from the enriching experience of being bilingual. I find that bilingual children who exhibited low emotional and physiological recovery from a stressful or exciting situation were more sensitive to the positive, enriching experience of being bilingual for certain self-regulatory skills. Bilingual children with high emotional and physiological recovery performed the same as monolingual children, therefore not exhibiting the bilingual advantage. This study points to early evidence that there is a differential sensitivity to the cognitive advantages of bilingualism. Together, these papers integrate research across multiple levels of analysis and multiple contexts in order to advance our knowledge of how self-regulatory processes shape and are shaped by the environment. Through this dissertation I hope to provide a deeper understanding of how environmental contexts affect self-regulatory mechanisms, in an effort to identify points of intervention to promote young children's self-regulation and subsequent school readiness.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Portilla, Ximena Acevedo
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.
|Stipek, Deborah J, 1950-
|Reardon, Sean F
|Stipek, Deborah J, 1950-
|Reardon, Sean F
|Statement of responsibility
|Ximena Acevedo Portilla.
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2015.
- © 2015 by Ximena Acevedo Portilla
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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