Biopsychosocial analysis of task engagement among preschool-age children

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Simone E. Halliday (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan Calkins

Abstract: The relation between physiological regulation, caregiver emotional support, and task engagement was examined among a diverse sample of 4-year old children (N = 244). It was predicted that physiological regulation and caregiver emotional support would facilitate greater behavioral task engagement. It was also hypothesized that caregiver emotional support would moderate the relation between physiological regulation and engagement, as children who receive greater support would be less reliant on their physiological resources. Children were observed on six dimensions of engagement during a frustrating puzzle task, during which child vagal tone was also measured. Primary caregivers were observed for emotional responsiveness during a parent-child problem-solving game. Factor analysis was conducted to examine factor structure of task engagement. The resulting engagement factor was predicted by child physiological regulation: Children with greater vagal withdrawal exhibited greater behavioral engagement. However, caregiver emotional support was unrelated to engagement and its moderating effect on the relation between physiological regulation and task engagement was not significant. This study demonstrates the role of physiological regulation in facilitating observable behavioral engagement among preschool age children, but failed to replicate a relation between caregiver support and engagement.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Early childhood, Emotional support, Engagement, Motivation, Self-regulation, Vagal withdrawal
Engagement (Philosophy)
Heart $x Psychophysiology
Developmental psychobiology
Preschool children $x Psychology
Child psychology
Mother and child
Parent and child

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