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The Emergence and Consolidation of Self-Control from Eighteen to Thirty Months of Age: Normative Trends and Individual Differences

Brian E. Vaughn, Claire B. Kopp and Joanne B. Krakow
Child Development
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Jun., 1984), pp. 990-1004
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130151
Page Count: 15
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The Emergence and Consolidation of Self-Control from Eighteen to Thirty Months of Age: Normative Trends and Individual Differences
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Abstract

This study is a descriptive report of the capability to exercise self-control in very young children. 2 aspects of self-control were assessed (delay/response inhibition in the presence of an attractive stimulus and compliance with maternal directives in a cleanup task) for 72 children between the ages of 18 and 30 months. The results indicated that both aspects of self-control show age-related increases. However, a factor analysis of the behaviors observed in the cleanup task suggested that compliance could not be adequately described with a unitary, bipolar dimension (noncompliance vs. compliance). 2 patterns of noncompliance were observed, and 1 of these also increased with age. Cross-task consistency (for the delay measures) and coherence across the 2 aspects of self-control showed a positive relationship with increasing age. Finally, correlational analyses of the self-control measures and developmental test data showed that individual differences in self-control were associated with differences in cognitive-developmental status (DA). The results are interpreted as evidence that the achievement of self-control can be considered as a major developmental accomplishment and as evidence that individual differences in self-control emerge and are consolidated during the second and third years of life.

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