Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

Does preschool self-regulation predict later behavior problems in general or specific problem behaviors?


Findings from prior research have consistently indicated significant associations between self-regulation and externalizing behaviors. Significant associations have also been reported between children's language skills and both externalizing behaviors and self-regulation. Few studies to date, however, have examined these relations longitudinally, simultaneously, or with respect to unique clusters of externalizing problems. The current study examined the influence of preschool self-regulation on general and specific externalizing behavior problems in early elementary school and whether these relations were independent of associations between language, self-regulation, and externalizing behaviors in a sample of 815 children (44% female). Additionally, given a general pattern of sex differences in the presentations of externalizing behavior problems, self-regulation, and language skills, sex differences for these associations were examined. Results indicated unique relations of preschool self-regulation and language with both general externalizing behavior problems and specific problems of inattention. In general, self-regulation was a stronger longitudinal correlate of externalizing behavior for boys than it was for girls, and language was a stronger longitudinal predictor of hyperactive/impulsive behavior for girls than it was for boys. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
State(s)/Territories/Tribal Nation(s):
Massachusetts; New Mexico

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection.

Self-regulation assessment among preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems

Reports & Papers

Supporting successful transition to kindergarten: General challenges and specific implications for students with problem behavior

Literature Review

Behavior Problems Index

Release: 'v1.77.0' | Built: 2024-05-14 14:23:10 EDT