Effortful control in childhood: factor structure, gender and age effects

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Principal research scientist
Affiliation: Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine, Novosibirsk State University
Address: Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk, Russia
Occupation: Senior research scientist
Affiliation: Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine
Address: Novosibirsk, Russia
Occupation: Junior research scientist
Affiliation: FSBSI “Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine”
Address: Timakova str., 4
Occupation: PhD student
Affiliation: Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine
Address: Russian Federation, Novosibirsk
Occupation: Младший научный сотрудник
Affiliation: Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine
Address: Timakova street, 4
Journal namePsikhologicheskii zhurnal
EditionVolume 41 Issue 3

Effortful control was investigated in 302 children aged 23–139 months (52% boys) using laboratory-based experimental tasks. We have adapted behavioral batteries developed by Kochanska and colleagues for children aged 22–78 months and developed comparable batteries for older preschoolers and primary school children. Results showed good interrater reliability for observational ratings, as assessed using intraclass correlations and kappas. An examination of the dimensional structure of the observational measures using confirmatory factor analyses indicated that in the youngest age group (22–45 months) effortful control has a two-factor structure, including delaying and Motor Control; in middle and older preschool, the component of Suppressing/Initiating Activity emerged. In the primary school years, task measures were not correlated with each other. We evaluated discriminant validity of observational measures with respect to gender and age. There were few significant gender effects whereas age effects were significant for nearly all variables. Age differences suggest the developmental trajectories of effortful control and its components, delaying, control of gross and fine motor activity, suppressing dominant activity and initiating subdominant activity to signal, and effortful attention. In light of the existing literature, these findings are discussed in terms of the structure and development of in Russian children between early childhood and school years.

KeywordsEffortful control, children, early childhood, preschool, primary school age, gender differences, age differences
AcknowledgmentThis work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 16-18-00003)
Publication date08.05.2020
Number of characters29214
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