Self-Regulation Snap Shot #5: A Focus on High-School Aged Youth

Publication Date: April 4, 2018
Self-Regulation Snap Shot #5: A Focus on High-School Aged Youth Cover

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  • Published: 2018


Adult caregivers such as parents, teachers, coaches, and other mentors play a critical role in shaping and supporting self-regulation development from birth through young adulthood through an interactive process called “co-regulation.”


This is one of six snapshots focused on different age groups based on a series of reports on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress prepared for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). This snapshot summarized key concepts about self-regulation development and intervention for high-school aged youth. It is designed to be a helpful resource for practitioners and educators interested in promoting self-regulation for this high-school age group. Visit the Toxic Stress and Self-Regulation Reports page for more information.


Self-regulation skills developing in high-school aged youth:

  • Goal setting and commitment
  • Maintaining orientation toward the future
  • Planning and organizing time and tasks to achieve goals
  • Effective decision-making in the context of strong emotion and peer influence
  • Complex problem-solving considering consequences and others perspectives
  • Recognizing and accepting emotions
  • Tolerating distress
  • Using healthy coping strategies to manage stress
  • Using empathy and concern for others to guide goals and decisions

Key considerations for promoting self-regulation in high-school aged youth:

  • Encourage a positive school climate for all students
  • Provide self-regulation skills training focused on emotion regulation in the context of relationships through existing youth development or mentoring programs
  • Train teachers and youth program staff including mentors to teach, model, reinforce, and coach self-regulation skills
  • Develop parent and teacher education supports that address co-regulation
  • Identify ways to support the self-regulation capacity of parents, school staff, and youth program staff including mentors


Murray, D.W. and Rosanbalm, K. (2017). Self-Regulation Snap Shot #5: A Focus on High-School Aged Youth. OPRE Report #2018-14, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The act of managing thoughts and feelings to enable goal-directed actions.
The supportive process between caring adults and children, youth, or young adults that fosters self-regulation development.
Current as of: