Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress Report 4: Implications for Programs and Practice

Publication Date: December 2, 2016


This report is the fourth and final in a series on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress; it is targeted specifically towards program administrators and practitioners. This report reviews the key concepts for understanding self-regulation, including the relationship between stress and self-regulation. Additionally, it summarizes principal findings from a comprehensive review of self-regulation interventions. Finally and most importantly, it addresses how current theory and knowledge of self-regulation may apply to programs and practitioners serving children and youth in different developmental groups from birth through young adulthood.

Key conclusions from the report indicate that:

  • A variety of self-regulation interventions result in meaningful positive effects on cognitive, emotional, and behavioral self-regulation, as well as broader outcomes across development in functional domains like mental health and academic achievement.
  • Many promising intervention approaches exist for supporting self-regulation development that could be incorporated into existing ACF programs.
  • Care is needed in selecting interventions that may be a good “fit” for relevant populations and settings.
  • Given the profound impacts that self-regulation can have across areas of functioning into adulthood, a self-regulation framework to support the well-being of children and families living in adversity may have great value.
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