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Self-control

The ability to act in a way that promotes long-term goals, while strengthening desired behaviors, declining dangerous temptations, and avoiding behaviors with negative consequences.

Relation to social mobility

Self-control is a necessary component of behavioral self-regulation. It enables efficient, flexible, and adaptive conduct, setting and achievement of goals, and protection against impulsive behavior that holds no benefit. Self-control is associated with social mobility both directly (success in relevant metrics) and in an indirect manner, through "traps" during adolescence (drug abuse, pregnancy, dropping out of school, etc.).

Importance

Critical

infancy until the beginning of elementary school

Important

end of junior high to the beginning of high school

Sources

Moffitt, Arseneault, Belsky, Dickson, Hancox et al. (2011). “A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety”. Proc Natl Acad Sci.

Piquero, Farrington & Jennings (2010). “Self-control interventions for children under age 10 for improving self-control and delinquency and problem behaviors”. Campbell Systematic Reviews.

Duckworth & Steinberg (2015), “Unpacking Self-Control”, Child Development Perspectives.

Kochanska et al. (2001). “The Development of Self-Regulation in the First Four Yeas od Life”, Child Development.

Reynolds et al. (2017). “How does school climate impact academic achievement? An examination of social identity processes”. School Psychology International.

What to Influence

Ways to Influence

Birth to six

from infancy until the beginning of elementary school

Emotional regulation
Executive functions

from infancy until the beginning of elementary school

Post-primary ages

end of junior high to beginning of high school

Impulse control

end of junior high to beginning of high school

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