Nathanson, L., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., & Brock, L.L.
This paper examines the extent to which children’s effortful control and early family experiences predict difficulty in kindergarten adjustment. One hundred and eighty-two children from 31 kindergarten classrooms in rural elementary schools in the Southeast participated. Teachers reported on children’s difficulty with kindergarten adjustment, and parents completed measures assessing children’s effortful control (inhibitory control and attentional focus) and types of parental control (i.e., lax, firm, and harsh). A hierarchical regression analysis was performed to address three research questions: First, how does effortful control (inhibitory control and attentional focus) contribute to children’s difficulty with kindergarten adjustment?
Second, how does parental control predict children’s difficulty with kindergarten adjustment? Third, to what extent does parental control moderate the relation between effortful control and difficulty with kindergarten adjustment? Practice or Policy: Children lower on inhibitory control showed greater difficulty with kindergarten adjustment than children with higher inhibitory control. Furthermore, lax parental control, but not firm or harsh parental control, predicted children’s adjustment problems. Lax parental control moderated the relation between children’s inhibitory control and difficulty with kindergarten adjustment; specifically, higher levels of lax parental control coupled with lower levels of inhibitory control predicted more difficulty with the adjustment to kindergarten.