About | S.E.L.F.-Regulation Lab | Florida International University | FIU
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Our Research

Self-regulation is a complex concept that entails the ability to exercise self-control over emotions, cognitions, and behavior in a way that facilitates adaptive functioning. Various levels of control processes are involved including biological, behavioral, attentional, and executive functioning.

Despite major advances in our understanding of the development of self-regulation, there is still a great deal that we do not know in terms of:

  1. What makes certain children more vulnerable to self-regulation deficits?
  2. How do environmental factors such as parenting, teachers, peers, and the school/classroom environment affect self-regulation development?
  3. How do the various self-regulation domains (i.e., biological, attentional) interact with environmental factors to differentially predict the development of childhood psychopathology such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and co-occurring disorders (e.g., Oppositional Defiant Disorder) as well as health outcomes such as pediatric obesity?
  4. How can early intervention target children’s self-regulation skills in an effective manner?

Our S.E.L.F.-Regulation Lab examines the issues above by integrating theory and methods from developmental psychology to examine clinical and pediatric psychology issues.

  • School Readiness

    Recent research has emphasized that children’s early externalizing behavior problems (EBP), including aggression, defiance, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, have significant implications for children’s school readiness and their subsequent transitions into the early
    school years.  

    Although early conceptualizations of school readiness focused on emergent literacy and academic skills, more recent attention has centered on the emergence of children’s self-regulation skills as they relate to the ability to control behavior, attention, and emotions for the purpose of

    Moreover, research has demonstrated that a significant subset of preschoolers do not possess adequate self-regulation skills necessary for a successful transition to kindergarten. Our lab is currently examining various aspects of what it means to be ready for kindergarten.

  • Early Intervention

    Intervening at the level of preschool, particularly with children identified as being at high-risk for the development of behavioral disorders, is of particular importance given that preschoolers with behavioral difficulties exhibit poorer self-regulation skills across domains and are at an increased risk for further escalation of these behavioral problems, including placement in special education, which is quite costly to society. Lastly, an unsuccessful transition to kindergarten may result in increased rates of removal, retention in kindergarten, and below grade level academic performance, thus further increasing costs through acquisition of additional behavioral, emotional, and academic public services. 

    Our lab is currently conducting several early intervention projects including: the Summer Treatment Program for Pre-Kindergarteners (STP-PreK), a group based School Readiness Parenting Program which is offered as part of the STP-PreK or as a standalone intervention, and a brief yet intensive two week parenting program (Intensive-Parent-Child Interaction Therapy; I-PCIT)

  • Learning

    We are also examining two important aspects of self-regulation, emotion regulation and executive functioning, as it relates to children’s learning abilities including reading, math, and writing skills.

  • Fitness

    Lastly, recent work by our lab and others have highlighted the importance of children’s self-regulation skills in the development of pediatric obesity as well as the overlap between ADHD and Pediatric Obesity. 

    We are currently developing a summer based family intervention to target preschool children who are overweight (Healthy-Lifestyle Intervention Program; HIP).