We examined associations between specific self-regulatory mechanisms and externalizing behavior patterns from ages 2 to 15 (N = 443). The relation between multiple self-regulatory indicators across multiple domains (i.e., physiological, attentional, emotional, and behavioral) at age 2 and at age 5 and group membership in four distinct externalizing trajectories was examined. By examining each of these self-regulatory processes in combination with one another, and therefore accounting for their shared variance, we aimed to better understand which specific self-regulatory skills were associated most strongly with externalizing behavioral patterns. Findings suggest that behavioral inhibitory control and emotion regulation are particularly important in distinguishing between children who show normative declines in externalizing behaviors across early childhood and those who demonstrate high levels through adolescence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition MH 55625, NIMH FIRST Award MH 55584, and NIMH K-Award MH 74077 (all to S.D.C.) and NIMH Grant MH 58144 (to S.D.C. and S.P.K.).