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Biological processes in prevention and intervention: The promotion of self-regulation as a means of preventing school failure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2008

Clancy Blair*
Pennsylvania State University
Adele Diamond
University of British Columbia
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Clancy Blair, 110 Henderson South, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail:


This paper examines interrelations between biological and social influences on the development of self-regulation in young children and considers implications of these interrelations for the promotion of self-regulation and positive adaptation to school. Emotional development and processes of emotion regulation are seen as influencing and being influenced by the development of executive cognitive functions, including working memory, inhibitory control, and mental flexibility important for the effortful regulation of attention and behavior. Developing self-regulation is further understood to reflect an emerging balance between processes of emotional arousal and cognitive regulation. Early childhood educational programs that effectively link emotional and motivational arousal with activities designed to exercise and promote executive functions can be effective in enhancing self-regulation, school readiness, and school success.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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The authors' research and scholarly activities are partially supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants P01 HD39667 and R01 HD51502 (to C.B.) and National Institute of Drug Abuse Grant R01 DA19685 (to A.D.).


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