Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


School Psychology

First Adviser

Hojnoski, Robin L.


A critical component of school success as well as social competence, self-regulation develops rapidly across the early childhood years, and its development appears to be influenced by both child and contextual factors. The utility of early identification and intervention practices for supporting self-regulation development may be enhanced by a better understanding of what factors characterize children who are at risk for challenges and what contextual mechanisms propel children on desirable developmental trajectories. The current study leverages a large, nationally representative dataset and four-level, longitudinal analyses to evaluate an ecological model of classroom behavior self-regulation development that considers student-, dyadic-, classroom-, and school-level factors in relation to teacher-rated self-regulation growth and outcomes across the kindergarten and first-grade years. Analyses identified reliable associations for growth trajectories and the risk factors of being younger, male, and from a low-socioeconomic-status background; experiencing low student-teacher closeness and high student-teacher conflict; as well as attending a kindergarten class with fewer students and lower levels of peer-displayed appropriate behavior. Associations for malleable contextual factors with trajectories signify positive relationships with adults, skill development opportunities outside adults’ external regulation of behavior, and peers’ modeling of positive behavior as potential benefits to self-regulation development. Findings indicate the viability of multiple child and contextual factors as potential targets of early identification and intervention practices. In addition, findings point to the need for research focused on clarifying contextual contributions to self-regulation development, investigating intervention effects on self-regulation, examining the relatedness of distinct self-regulation constructs, and developing objective yet contextualized measures for assessing self-regulation.