Relations between children’s emotional self-regulation, attentional control, and peer social competence (as reported by both teachers and peers) were examined for 51 low-income, preschool-aged children enrolled in Head Start. Using a short delay-of-gratification task administered at Head Start sites, children’s use of selfdistraction was found to be positively associated with their success in handling the delay, replicating previous, laboratory-based research. Contrary to our expectations, children’s use of self-distraction was found to be unrelated to their attentional control, as assessed during a computer task. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that children’s use of self-distraction predicted significant variance in both peer- and teacher-reports of children’s competence with peers, even after children’s attentional control was statistically taken into account. These findings are discussed in light of current models of reactivity and regulation in predicting young children’s social behavior, as well as in the context of early intervention efforts for children facing socioeconomic risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology