Research press release


Scientific Reports

Behaviour: Development of self-control in young children


子どもが衝動的な振る舞いを抑え、計画を立てて行動できることは、成人期の成功にとって極めて重要なことなのかもしれない。そのようなセルフコントロールを小児期に身に付けているかどうかという点から、成人してからの健康状態、良好な家族関係、仕事上の成功を予測できるとする学説が提唱されているのだ。これまでのセルフコントロールの発達に関する研究の大部分は、未就学児と思春期の少年少女に着目したものだった。これに対して、幼稚園や小学校に通う子ども、つまり、自分の行動を制御することが求められる移行期にある子どもについての研究は行われていなかった。そのため、Ting Tao、Wenbin Gaoたちのグループは、幼稚園児と小学校の生徒を対象としたセルフコントロールの研究を行った。


Age and gender seem to have an important role in the development of good self-control in children in kindergarten and primary school, a study in Scientific Reports indicates. Data collected from 2,135 children aged 3-9 years from schools across China reveal that good self-control behaviours improve with age, and girls performed better than boys in tests of self-control.

The ability of children to control impulsive behaviour and plan before action may be critical to their success in adult life; it has been suggested that possessing such self-control in childhood can predict health, relationship and career outcomes in adulthood. Most studies of self-control development have focused either on very young children or adolescents, but there is a lack of research on children in kindergarten and primary school, a transition period that requires children to regulate their behaviour. Thus, Ting Tao, Wenbin Gao and colleagues investigated self-control in this age group.

The results indicated that there were improvements in good self-control during this period, especially between the ages of 5 and 6 years; however, the incidence of individuals with poor control remained stable. The findings support theories that there is a dual systems model of self-control, split into constrained or impulsive behaviour. The authors note that girls showed higher levels of good self-control than boys. The differences seem to be related to good self-control behaviour rather than poor control.

doi: 10.1038/srep07272


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