The Role of Cultural Factors in the Development of Latino Preschoolers' Self-Regulation


  • First and foremost, I extend my sincere and deep gratitude to Cybele Raver for her encouragement and insights on previous versions of this manuscript. In addition, I thank Angela Valdovinos D'Angelo and Lisa Dorner for their invaluable feedback. I am also grateful for the suggestions and thoughts of Clancy Blair, Shalonda Kelly, Alexandra Ursache, Allison Friedman, Maryse Richards, Tracy DeHart, Robyn Mallett, Maria Cristina Limlingan, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal. A prior version of this paper was presented at the New York University Applied Psychology Developmental Colloquium in November 2011. Last, but certainly not least, I thank Jaclyn Lennon, Maria Marcus, and Kelly Haas for their research assistance. Any errors that remain are my own.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Christine Pajunar Li-Grining, Department of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W. Sheridan, Chicago, IL 60660; e-mail:


This review summarizes the literature on factors that contribute to individual differences in Latino preschool-aged children's self-regulation, which is defined here as the ability to manage one's behavior, emotions, and attention, voluntarily and adaptively. Because Latino children are more likely to live in low-income families, existing studies have embedded developmental models of Latino preschoolers' self-regulation in socioeconomic contexts. However, scholars also highlight the importance of situating ethnic minority children's self-regulation in sociocultural contexts. Existing studies have investigated both mean differences in children's self-regulation by race and ethnicity and the moderating role of race and ethnic group. Also, extant research has begun examining mean differences in children's socioemotional adjustment by immigrant status. Still, the literature has not extensively studied the moderating roles of acculturation or cultural values such as familism in the socialization of Latino preschool-aged children's self-regulation. This article takes a first step toward identifying different types of interaction effects involving familism and acculturation, and concludes with recommendations for future research.