Mothers' teaching strategies and children's effortful control: A longitudinal study

Nancy Eisenberg, Maša Vidmar, Tracy Spinrad, Natalie Wilkens, Alison Edwards, Bridget Gaertner, Anne Kupfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Findings on the relation of maternal verbal teaching strategies to children's effortful control (EC; i.e., self-regulation) are limited in quantity and somewhat inconsistent. In this study, children's EC was assessed at 18, 30, and 42 months (ns = 255, 229, and 209, respectively) with adults' reports and a behavioral measure. Mothers' verbal teaching strategies were assessed while the mother and child worked on a task together. Children's general vocabulary also was measured. In a structural panel model taking into account prior levels of constructs and correlations within time, as well as the relations of EC and teaching strategies to children's vocabulary, socioeconomic status, age, and sex of the child, 18-month EC positively predicted mothers' 30-month cognitive assistance and questioning strategies and negatively predicted 30-month maternal directive strategies. In addition, high 30-month EC predicted greater 42-month maternal cognitive assistance and fewer directive strategies. Thus, mothers' teaching strategies were predicted by individual differences in self-regulatory skills, supporting potential evocative child effects on mothers' teaching strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1308
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Effortful control
  • Regulation
  • Socialization
  • Teaching strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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