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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2015 May;43(4):705-20. doi: 10.1007/s10802-014-9941-2.

Relations of growth in effortful control to family income, cumulative risk, and adjustment in preschool-age children.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Box 351525, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA,


The study examined growth in effortful control (executive control, delay ability) in relation to income, cumulative risk (aggregate of demographic and psychosocial risk factors), and adjustment in 306 preschool-age children (50 % girls, 50 % boys) from families representing a range of income (29 % at- or near-poverty; 28 % lower-income; 25 % middle-income; 18 % upper-income), with 4 assessments starting at 36-40 month. Income was directly related to levels of executive control and delay ability. Cumulative risk accounted for the effects of income on delay ability but not executive control. Higher initial executive control and slope of executive control and delay ability predicted academic readiness, whereas levels, but not growth, of executive control and delay ability predicted social competence and adjustment problems. Low income is a marker for lower effortful control, which demonstrates additive or mediating effects in the relation of income to children's preschool adjustment.

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