TitleThe Handbook of Life-Span DevelopmentSelf-Regulation across the Life Span
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGeldhof, GJ, Little, TD, Colombo, J
EditorLerner, RM, Lamb, ME, Freund, AM
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc.
CityHoboken, NJ, USA
ISBN Number9780470390139

While the scope of self‐regulation ranges from microscopic analyses of neuro‐cognitive structures to macroscopic analyses of self‐regulation and culture, individual researchers typically focus only on topics relevant to their desired level of analysis. As a result, the self‐regulation literature tends to be fragmented by topic and age. This chapter attempts to integrate the diverse approaches to self‐regulation while emphasizing the importance of an action‐theoretical perspective. We present an organizing heuristic, grounded in action‐theory, that unifies research across multiple levels of analysis. Our heuristic identifies core developmental features that change during every developmental stage and integrates research across the life span. We discuss self‐regulation as the product of a larger cognitive‐affect processing system (e.g., Mischel & Ayduk, 2004) that develops based on experience in an environment pervaded by cultural influences and is contingent on the development of an underlying neuro‐cognitive structure.