Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany
Background. Children with deficits in self-regulation often perform worse in school and are less accepted by peers. However, self-regulation can be trained and developed by making detailed plans to achieve specific goals. One such strategy is WOOP (it includes thinking about wishes, outcomes, and obstacles, and creating a plan to achieve a goal), known in the literature as MCII, or if-then plans.
Objective. Noting the encouraging results of the WOOP method, we aimed to evaluate whether WOOP has the potential to ameliorate self-regulation deficits on a day-to-day-level .
Design. In total, 49 school-aged children (M= 11.2 years, SD= 8.4 months) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) Condition 1, underwent a WOOP intervention; and 2) Condition 2, performed the intervention without contrasting obstacles and planning. The self-regulation abilities were assessed each day over an 18-day survey period by both the children themselves and their parents. ADHD symptom-severity was assessed as a proxy for self-regulation; specifically, we used six items from the Conners 3 scale and the German adaptation of the Brief Self-Control Scale.
Results.The children in both conditions demonstrated increased self-regulation, according to their self-reports at the beginning and end of the survey period. The parents reported different progressions of the two conditions over the survey period, but these did not differ significantly. In addition, both conditions are helpful to improve children's self-regulation in daily life.
Conclusion. Further research on implementing practicable interventions in schoolchildren´s daily life is highly recommended.
Keywords: self-regulation; Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII); WOOP; ambulatory assessment