This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Development of Self-Regulation During Adolescence: Understanding the Effects by Pubertal Changes and Parenting




Scarpate, Julia Melissa

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Self-regulation (SR) has been suggested to be a key developmental precursor to a host of developmental outcomes (e.g., externalizing and internalizing behaviors, academic achievement, task completion, etc.; Baumeister, Leith, Maraven, & Bratslavsky, 1998; Eisenberg et al., 2004; Silk et al., 2006). Steinberg (2004) suggests that during adolescence, there are substantial changes in SR capacity, as older teens make better choices by engaging in risk perception and risk appraisal and handle risky situations more appropriately than younger teens. This provides indirect evidence of developmental changes in SR during adolescence, and yet, no studies have directly tested whether this is empirically substantiated. Dahl (2004) questioned, whether underlying neural systems can explain whether there is an analogous natural window of plasticity for learning SR in adolescence. The continued development of the adolescent brain might account for variability in SR; coupled with positive socialization experiences (e.g., high quality parent-adolescent relationships). Thus, the current proposed study sought to connect maturation and parenting and examined developmental changes in SR during adolescence. Secondary data analyses were conducted on the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) study which is a longitudinal study using four phases of data; two of which were used in the current study(Phase III=2000-2004, through 6th grade, n = 1,061, and Phase IV=2005-2007, through 9th grade, n = 1,009). Survey methods were utilized with multiple informants (i.e., mother, father/partner/other adult). Conditional and Parallel Process Latent Growth Models were employed to assess whether SR continues to develop in adolescence, pubertal development is associated with SR development, and that parenting processes are associated with SR development. Findings indicated that, largely, SR does not continue to develop during adolescence (9.5-15.5 years) and that development of SR is not influence by parenting processes. There were some interesting findings regarding pubertal development in males where changes in puberty were significantly associated with changes in SR. By examining both biological markers of maturation (puberty) as well as parenting processes, the current study will advance scientific knowledge in a comprehensive and rigorous way, and will extend SR work from childhood into the adolescent period.