Self-Regulation Snap Shot #6: A Focus on Young Adults

Publication Date: April 4, 2018
Self-Regulation Snap Shot #6: A Focus on Young Adults 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 young adults:

  • Goal setting and commitment
  • Maintaining orientation toward the future
  • Planning and organizing time and tasks to achieve goals
  • Self-monitoring and self-reinforcement in pursuit of 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 young adults:

  • Communicate the relevance of self-regulation for employment success and self-sufficiency
  • Teach specific self-regulation skills in youth development, healthy relationships, and employment programs
  • Involve partners and peers in supporting youth’s self-regulation
  • Identify ways to support the self-regulation capacity of youth program staff including mentors and job coaches.


Murray, D.W. and Rosanbalm, K. (2017). Self-Regulation Snap Shot #6: A Focus on Young Adults. OPRE Report #2018-15, 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: