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Inhibitory Control in Young Children and Its Role in Emerging Internalization

Grazyna Kochanska, Kathleen Murray, Tanya Y. Jacques, Amy L. Koenig and Kimberly A. Vandegeest
Child Development
Vol. 67, No. 2 (Apr., 1996), pp. 490-507
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131828
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131828
Page Count: 18
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Inhibitory Control in Young Children and Its Role in Emerging Internalization
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Abstract

We examined inhibitory control as a quality of temperament that contributes to internalization. Children were assessed twice, at 26-41 months (N = 103) and at 43-56 months (N = 99), on repeated occasions, in multiple observational contexts and using parental reports. Comprehensive behavioral batteries incorporating multiple tasks were designed to measure inhibitory control at toddler and preschool age. They had good internal consistencies, corresponded with maternal ratings, and were developmentally sensitive. Individual children's performance was significantly correlated across both assessments, indicating stable individual differences. Girls surpassed boys at both ages. Children's internalization was observed while they were alone with prohibited objects, with a mundane chore, playing games that occasioned cheating, being induced to violate standards of conduct, and assessed using maternal reports. Inhibitory control was significantly associated with internalization, both contemporaneously and as a predictor in the longitudinal sense. The implications for considering children's temperament as a significant, yet often neglected contributor to developing internalization are discussed.

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