Pathways to Low-Income Children’s Self-Regulation: Child Temperament and the Qualities of Teacher–Child Relationships

Ibrahim H. Acar, Julia C. Torquati, Helen Raikes, Kathleen Moritz Rudasill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research Findings: We examined low-income children’s temperament (regulatory and reactive) as a predictor of their self-regulation, and teacher-child relationship (closeness and conflict) as a moderator of associations between child temperament and selfregulation. This study involved 291 children (132 girls) (Mage = 53.88 months, SD = 6.44 months) from three EduCare programs. Parents reported on children’s temperament and teachers reported on qualities of teacher–child relationships during fall. Direct assessments of self-regulation were conducted during the following spring and summer. Hierarchical regression models using SAS PROCMIXED were employed to account for nesting of children within classrooms. Bivariate analyses revealed that teacher-child closeness was positively associated with children’s self-regulation, and teacher-child conflict was inversely associated with children’s self-regulation. After controlling for demographic variables, regression analyses showed that higher levels of conflict combined with lower temperamental regulation was related to lower self-regulation. Lower levels of child temperamental regulation was related to higher self-regulation when teacher-child conflict was low. Practice and Policy: Findings suggest that reducing conflictual teacher-child conflict could be beneficial for children’s selfregulation, particularly for children with low regulatory temperament. A focus on enhancing teacher self-regulation, for example, through mindfulness practices, is a promising approach to reducing teacher-child conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEarly Education and Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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