Implications of early attentional and behavioral regulation for adolescent flourishing: Variations in pathways across family income status

Ying Zhang, Qingyang Liu, Rachel Razza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined preschoolers’ attentional and behavioral regulation as unique predictors of adolescent flourishing. Additional interests included the role of social competence and academic competence as mediators and poverty-status as a moderator of these pathways. Data were drawn from the Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study and included an analytic sample of 2,266 ethnically and economically diverse families. Children's attentional regulation and academic competence were directly assessed during in-home visits, behavioral regulation and social competence were parent-reported, and adolescent flourishing was self-reported. Overall, results from multiple linear regression indicated that behavioral self-regulation at age 5 was associated with adolescent flourishing at age 15. In addition, the findings from structural equation models that examined mediation and moderation simultaneously indicated specificity in the pathways; attentional regulation positively predicted social competence for the poor and the near-poor groups, while lack of behavioral regulation was found to be negatively correlated with social competence for all three income groups. Furthermore, both attentional regulation and behavioral regulation were associated with academic competence for the poor and near-poor groups, but not for the non-poor group. Lastly, mediation analyses indicated that higher behavioral regulation at age 5 was positively associated with social competence at age 9, which further were associated with adolescence flourishing at age 15, for the non-poor group only. Implications of these findings for interventions targeting early attentional and behavioral regulation among at-risk children are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107553
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Adolescent flourishing
  • At-risk
  • Attentional regulation
  • Behavioral regulation
  • Longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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