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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The pervasive and long-term effects of poverty on children's social-emotional well-being, academic competence, and mental health may be accounted for, in part, by the effects of poverty on children's developing effortful control. Understanding the effects of poverty on effortful control and the potential mechanisms of those effects is critical for understanding children's adjustment and for the development of preventive or promotive interventions for children growing up in poverty. This chapter reviews the relevance of effortful control to children's academic, social, and emotional adjustment, the developmental course of effortful control, and discusses hypothesized pathways through which poverty might shape effortful control in children. A model is discussed in which greater family stress associated with poverty results in disruptions in parenting and physiological stress responses that, in turn, divert the development of effortful control. The chapter presents evidence for the relations of parenting, family stress, maternal depression, RSA, and HPA-axis activity to effortful control, highlighting potential processes that promote or divert the development of effortful control and of positive adaptation in young children. Recommendations for future research directions are suggested.

Keywords: effortful control, social-emotional competence, adjustment problems, developmental trajectories, parenting, family stress, stress response

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