Early Behavioral Self-Regulation, Academic Achievement, and Gender: Longitudinal Findings from France, Germany, and Iceland Public Deposited


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  • A growing body of research suggests that behavioral self-regulation skills are critical for early school success. However, few studies have explored the links between self-regulation and academic achievement among young children in Europe. This study examined the contribution of behavioral self-regulation to academic achievement gains among young children in France, Germany, and Iceland. Gender differences in behavioral self-regulation skills were also explored. A total of 260 children were followed longitudinally over one to two years (average age at Wave 1 was 74.5 months). Behavioral self-regulation was assessed using a structured direct observation (Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task) and teachers assessed how well children could apply behavioral self-regulation in the classroom. Multilevel analyses revealed that higher levels of directly assessed and teacher ratings of behavioral self-regulation predicted higher academic skills after controlling for gender, age, maternal education, and previous achievement, but the relations depended on the cultural context. Also, teacher ratings of behavioral self-regulation were more consistently related to achievement gains than directly assessed behavioral self-regulation. Girls outperformed boys only in the Icelandic sample, which may explain the noticeably large gender differences in later academic achievement in this country. We discuss universal and culture-specific findings as well as implications for educational practices.
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  • Gestsdottir, S., von Suchodoletz, A., Wanless, S. B., Hubert, B., Guimard, P., Birgisdottir, F., ... & McClelland, M. (2014). Early Behavioral Self-Regulation, Academic Achievement, and Gender: Longitudinal Findings From France, Germany, and Iceland. Applied Developmental Science, 18(2), 90-109. doi:10.1080/10888691.2014.894870
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