Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Marie Coppola; Julie Wargo Aikins

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Self-regulation, and compliance behavior specifically, has been implicated in the development of successful socialization. Difficulty self-regulating has led to negative outcomes in areas such as academic success and mental health, and a number of possible contributors, such as temperament, maternal sensitivity and attachment, have been identified. In this study, we examined these possible predictors of preschool compliance behavior through causal modeling utilizing a large and diverse longitudinal dataset from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. We aimed to predict compliance and delay of gratification performance in children across 2, 3 and 4.5 years of age by looking at both lab and parent-report measurements. We found that compliance at 2 years of age was difficult to predict and path models including more than two time points did not fit well. Additionally, compliance lacked stability from 2 to 3 years of age. These findings suggest that stability of compliance and self-regulation behaviors may not occur until preschool or later. The findings also suggest that laboratory-based compliance may not be an optimal indicator of self-regulation but instead should be examined in conjunction with other measures in other contexts.

Major Advisor

James A. Green