Effortful control (EC) and executive functioning (EF) are two focal constructs in the study of self-regulation in early childhood. Given a number of conceptual and empirical overlaps between EC and EF, this study examined the associations between commonly used laboratory and performance-based measures of EC and EF in early childhood. Children (N = 244; age 4–6 years) completed the Shape Stroop, Snack Delay and Toy Delay tasks, as well as the Conner's Kiddie-Continuous Performance Task (KCPT). Partial correlations and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were conducted to assess the relations between performance on the EC and EF tasks and the factor structure of self-regulation. Convergent and divergent validity were found amongst the performance-based measures. In addition, results from CFA support a one-factor model of self-regulation with “hot” EC and “cool” EF loading onto a general self-regulation factor. Study results highlight the similarities that exist between EC and EF during early childhood and the need for integrative, whole-child approaches in order to understand the neurophysiological and behavioral underpinnings of self-regulation and its development.
- Early childhood
- Effortful control
- Executive functioning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science