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Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress - An Applied Developmental Perspective

Understanding Self-Regulation in Context

1. Which of the following statements is true with regard to self-regulation?

A. Poor self-regulation is associated with major societal problems such as violence and substance use, mental health concerns, and health problems such as excessive weight gain.

B. Dysregulated behaviors, such as impulsivity, are core features of several clinical diagnoses such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and eating disorders.

C. Self-regulation predicts socio-economic success as defined by income and financial planning.

D. All of the above are true.


2. Integration of which of the following is the essential work of self-regulation?

A. Cognitive and behavioral processes

B. Cognitive and emotional processes

C. Emotional and behavioral processes

D. Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes


3. Lack of self-regulation may result in a range of mental health difficulties; in children and youth it is most observable in impulsive, aggressive behavior, attentional difficulties, withdrawal, self-harm, and engagement in risk behaviors such as substance use.

A. True

B. False


4. Behavioral regulation is supported by successful regulation of __________, which needs to be addressed in any intervention targeting functional behavioral outcomes.

A. Emotion

B. Cognition

C. Emotion and cognition

D. None of the above


5. In a situation where stress is overwhelming or a child may not be safe, he or she would not be expected to cope with the stressor or self-regulate independently.  Indeed, the key self-regulation skill in this context is seeking help from a caregiver or other trusted adult.

A. True

B. False


6. Which of the following is a concept related to self-regulation that has been defined as “positive or protective processes that reduce maladaptive outcomes under conditions of risk”?

A. Resilience

B. Coping

C. Stress management

D. Adaptation


7. The most internal factor influencing a child’s capacity for self-regulation is comprised of the child’s __________, which contributes to individual differences in self-regulation.

A. Biology

B. Genetics

C. Temperament

D. All of the above


8. Children who primarily respond and react in ways that disrupt and bother others, referred to as over-controlled, parallel clinical patterns of anxious behavior.

A. True

B. False


9. Self-regulation develops differently for boys than for girls.

A. True

B. False


10. Self-regulation is malleable and responsive to intervention.

A. True

B. False


11. External motivation is provided by:

A. Basic needs such as food and safety.

B. Rewards and consequences.

C. Things such as attention and social acceptance.

D. The drive to obtain peripheral desires.


12. Within the classroom, positive student-teacher relationships and positive behavior management provide caregiving support similar to that provided by parents.

A. True

B. False


13. Which of the following is a specific environmental factor with a well-established link to self-regulation development and likely exerts influence on children through the chronic pressure present in families, schools, and communities?

A. Poverty

B. Peers

C. High teacher turnover rates

D. Neighborhoods with high crime rates


14. A toxic stress response can occur when children experience which of the following?

A. A strong adversity that overwhelms their skills or support.

B. Frequent adversity that overwhelms their skills or support.

C. Prolonged adversity that overwhelms their skills or support.

D. Any or all of the above.


15. It has been hypothesized that toxic stress contributes to:

A. Impaired inhibitory control and delay of gratification.

B. Excessive or blunted emotional reactions.

C. Impulsive, disorganized thinking.

D. All of the above.


Development of Self-Regulation from Birth to Young Adulthood

16. In co-regulation, caregivers provide the nurturing, instruction, coaching, and support that will promote optimal self-regulation by the child, while simultaneously buffering against environmental stressors that might diminish regulatory capacity.

A. True

B. False


17. Each of the following is true with regard to language skills, except for:

A. When caregivers explain rules and talk through problems, children learn vocabulatry to mediate their behavior.

B. When young children verbally label their emotions, it helps them more accurately appraise those experiences and then react in adaptive ways.

C. Parenting predicts verbal skills, which later predict coping skills.

D. Language development supports interpersonal communication as a strategy to negotiate parental demands and avoid disputes with peers.


18. The goal of self-regulation interventions should be to support development of increasing sophisticated integration of emotional regulation with cognitive regulation across more complex social situations with less and less external support.

A. True

B. False


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