The Antecedents and Outcomes of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood
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Interpersonal success requires effective self-regulation. Thus, researchers must discern the developmental origins of self-regulation, in addition to understanding the impact of self-regulation on later social competence. The present study utilized data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development to examine the relationships between early parenting quality, preschoolers’ self-regulation, and children’s later social competence and social withdrawal in middle school. Results indicated that the developmental pathway to social competence differed from the developmental trajectory evident for maladaptive social outcomes, thus suggesting that social competence and negative social outcomes may arise from unique constellations of factors. While parenting quality and self-regulation predicted children’s social competence, only self-regulation related to children’s later loneliness and peer exclusion. Therefore, parenting quality and self-regulation each distinctly and independently affected divergent aspects of children’s social development.