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Since inhibitory control has been implicated in children’s ability to successfully navigate their social and academic environments, it is important to explore factors underlying its development. We examined whether attentional focusing (a temperamental factor) and socioeconomic status (a caregiving environmental factor) influenced children’s inhibitory control.
Inhibitory control was coded from an observed behavioral task (Dinky Toys) and children’s temperament and socioeconomic status were indexed via parent report in 70 (36 girls; M age = 4.40 years) typically developing 4-year-old children.
We found that children low in attentional focusing were differentially sensitive to their caregiving environment in predicting inhibitory control (p= .001): children with low attentional focusing displayed the highest and lowest levels of inhibitory control when their familial socioeconomic status was high and low, respectively. Children with high attentional focusing exhibited an average amount of inhibitory control regardless of their familial socioeconomic status (p= .20).
Findings provide support for a differential susceptibility hypothesis and suggest that plasticity in low attentional focusing may be beneficial to children in some caregiving environments. Findings also highlight the importance of considering factors internal and external to the child when exploring influences on inhibitory control.
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- Relations among Temperament, Familial Socioeconomic Status, and Inhibitory Control in Typically Developing Four-Year-Old Children
Ann S. Mills
Kimberly L. Day
Ryan J. Van Lieshout
Louis A. Schmidt
- Springer US