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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we focus on the emergence of self-regulatory processes during infancy, as framed in biopsychosocial context. We begin with a brief review of the neurobiological underpinnings of early self-regulatory processes and how self-regulatory systems develop in early childhood. Next, given that infants come into the world highly dependent on caregiver support for their survival, we argue that the emergence of self-regulation occurs primarily in a relational context, and that the capacity for self-regulation reflects both self- and parent–infant co-regulatory processes. We also provide evidence to show that variations in these early self- and parent–infant regulatory processes are linked to children’s resilient or maladaptive functioning in later life. We illustrate our arguments with findings from developmental research on self-regulation in at-risk populations and in diverse contextual–cultural settings. After a brief discussion of the implications of this literature for practice, we conclude that the Mutual Regulation Model provides a useful framework for practitioners attending to the quality of the parent–infant relationship.

Keywords: self-regulation, mutual regulation, infancy, biopsychosocial, resilience

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