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Self-Regulation Briefs

Desiree Murray & Katie Rosanbalm
from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

FPG's Desiree Murray and Duke Center for Child and Family Policy's Katie Rosanbalm are lead authors on these free briefs for a series on self-regulation from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Current Gaps and Future Directions for Self-Regulation Intervention Research describes key gaps in self-regulation interventions and intervention research and how the field can fill these gaps.

Co-Regulation from Birth through Young Adulthood: A Practice Brief provides guidelines for effective co-regulation support at each stage of a child’s development. Three broad categories of support that caregivers can provide to children, youth, and young adults to help them develop foundational self-regulatory skills: provide a warm, responsive relationship, structure the environment, and teach and coach self-regulation skills.

Promoting Self-Regulation in the First Five Years: A Practice Brief provides guidelines to promote self-regulation development in children from birth through five years old. By proactively teaching and supporting self-regulation skills across settings, we can help children from all backgrounds enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Promoting Self-Regulation in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Practice Brief reviews the importance of self-regulation for adolescents and young adults and provides guidelines for supporting self-regulation development for 14 to 25-year-olds. Research has shown that there are major changes in brain architecture that occur during adolescence, making interventions at this age important and timely. In particular during early and mid- adolescence (i.e., 11-15 years), brain systems that seek rewards and process emotions are more developed than cognitive control systems responsible for good decision-making and future planning.

Self Regulation and Toxic Stress: Seven Key Principles of Self-Regulation in Context provides a framework for understanding self-regulation and its development in an ecological-biological development context. Self-regulation can be defined from an applied perspective as the act of managing one’s thoughts and feelings to engage in goal-directed actions, such as organizing behavior, controlling impulses, and solving problems constructively. The act of self-regulating is dependent on several different factors that interact with each other.

How Do Acute and Chronic Stress Impact the Development of Self-Regulation? Stress has been linked to long term physical health and numerous indicators of wellbeing, and there is increasing evidence that stress experienced in childhood and adolescence may lead to physiological changes in the brain and to disruptions in development. However, much of the data suggesting these connections are based on associations rather than on causal evidence from experiments. There are also many unanswered questions related to the relationship between stress and self-regulation, particularly with regard to the impact of social adversity during sensitive developmental periods, the variability in stress responsiveness across individuals, and the possibility for reversing negative effects.

Reflections on the Relevance of "Self-Regulation" for Native Communities The construct of 'self-regulation' may be problematic in its applications beyond Euro-American cultures, in part because it implies a self-centered orientation. Instead, the primary orientation of many cultures, including many Native American cultures, is the community. In this brief, we consider 'self-regulation' from these divergent perspectives with the intention that the underlying value of the construct and the research underlying 'self-regulation' may be made more apparent and relevant for Native communities.

Each of these briefs is available for re-use without permission.