Kornienko O.S., Petrenko E.N., Leto I.V., Fedorova N.A., Slobodskaya H.R. (2018). Effortful Control in Primary Schoolchildren: Links with Personality, Problem Behaviour, Academic Achievement, and Subjective Well-Being. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 11 (4), 2-18
Background: Effortful control is a core aspect of self-regulation and refers to the ability to voluntarily regulate behaviour and attention, measured by temperament questionnaires. Although the Temperament in Middle Childhood Questionnaire is widely used in different countries, this measure has not been fully explored. Most research on the links of effortful control with personality and important outcomes has been carried out in Western nations; the possibility of extending these findings to other cultures requires study.
Objective: To examine effortful control and its relations to personality and wellbeing in a community sample of primary schoolchildren in Russia.
Design: Parents of 7–10-year-olds (N = 614) completed the abbreviated Effortful Control scale of the TMCQ, the Inventory of Child Individual Differences–Short version, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ); teachers provided SDQ data and school grades; children completed the Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale.
Results: The findings supported a four-factor structure of Effortful Control, including Attention Focusing, Inhibitory Control, Activation Control, and Low-Intensity Pleasure. Effortful Control was associated with the personality traits of Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness, and also with Positive Emotions and low Neuroticism. Effortful Control was also associated with academic achievement, subjective well-being, and lower levels of externalising and internalising problems. Structural modelling showed that Attentional Control contributed to problem behaviour and subjective wellbeing; Inhibitory Control contributed to externalising problems; and Activation Control contributed to academic achievement.
Conclusion: Effortful Control and its components were strongly related to higherand lower-order personality traits. The findings confirmed the important role of effortful control in the academic success and well-being of Russian primary schoolchildren.
Keywords: effortful control, middle childhood, personality, well-being, problem behaviour, academic achievement, life satisfaction