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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: A longitudinal analysis of relationships between children's early self-regulation, mothering, and children's behaviour problems
Authors: Walker, Sue 
Williams, Kate 
Berthelsen, Donna 
Nicholson, Jan M 
Publication Date: 3-Jul-2013
Keywords: self-regulation
behaviour problems
early childhood
Abstract: Children’s self-regulation skills develop through dynamic, transactional processes between parent and child. Data for 2880 children, participating in Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) are used in these analyses to explore the relationships between maternal mental health, parenting style, children’s self-regulatory skills, and child behavioural outcomes at age 6-7 years. Longitudinal profiles of self-regulation were developed using three waves of data from LSAC, when children were aged less than 1 year, 2-3 years, and 4-5 years. The profiles were constructed using maternal reports of children’s sleep regulation, emotional reactivity, and cognitive persistence. Child behavioural outcomes were measured by the Total Problems Scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) when children were 6-7 years (LSAC Wave 4 data). Three profiles of self-regulation emerged from longitudinal analyses. The normative profile (69%, n=1988) had consistently high scores on the self-regulation measures at each wave. The poor profile (27%, n=777) had consistently lower scores on all measures, with sleep regulation strongly influencing this profile across time. The very poor profile (4%, n=112) had significantly lower scores than the normative group on self-regulation measures across data waves; was generally lower than the poor group on self-regulation measures; and showed a steep decline in sleep regulation from birth to 5 years. In path models examining relationships between aspects of mothering (at 4-5 years), self-regulation (birth to 5 years), and behaviour problems (6-7 years), maternal mental health, anger, hostility and self-efficacy mediated the relationship between children’s early self-regulation and behavioural outcomes. Positive maternal mental health and maternal self-efficacy provided children with some protection from poorer outcomes, indicating the importance of support for maternal mental health, particularly where children have early signs of self-regulation difficulties.
Conference: Australasian Human Development Association Conference
Conference location: Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
Keywords: Families -- Parents and Parenting; Children -- Early childhood; Child Development -- Behaviour
Research collection: Conference Presentations
Appears in Collections:Conference Presentations

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