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Relations between inhibitory control and the development of academic skills in preschool and kindergarten: A meta-analysis

Although there is evidence that young children's inhibitory control (IC) is related to their academic skills, the nature of this relation and the role of potential moderators of it are not well understood. In this meta-analytic study, we summarized results from 75 peer-reviewed studies of preschool and kindergarten children (14,424 children; 32-80 months old [M = 54.71 months; SD = 9.70]) across a wide range of socioeconomic status. The mean effect size (r) across studies was .27 (95% confidence interval [.24, .29]), indicating a moderate and statistically significant association between self-regulation and academic skills. The association between IC and academic skills was moderated by type of IC behavior task (i.e., hot vs. cool behavior task), by method of assessing IC (i.e., behavior task vs. parent report), and by academic subject (i.e., literacy vs. math), but not by other methods of assessing IC (i.e., behavior task vs. teacher report, parent report vs. teacher report) or by grade (i.e., preschool vs. kindergarten). The results of this meta-analysis suggest that there are preferred methods for assessing IC (i.e., cool behavior tasks, teacher reports) that should be considered when examining the relations between IC and academic skills in young children. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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