Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review | 2019
The Direct and Indirect Relations Between Self-Regulation and Language Development Among Monolinguals and Dual Language Learners
In this review, we expand the conversation on the relations between self-regulation and language development in early childhood to include the growing population of dual language learners (DLLs). In the first sections, we highlight similarities in the timing and mechanisms of self-regulation and language development, respectively, and then summarize theoretical and empirical literature on the domains’ joint development. We ground this review in a conceptual model of the direct and indirect relations between skills in the two domains. In terms of direct relations, language facilitates mental organization and representation of self-regulation, whereas self-regulation allows children to capitalize on language-learning opportunities. Indirectly, self-regulation and language are related through shared ecological contexts of development. Throughout, we evaluate the applicability of our conceptual model among DLLs in light of evidence that: (1) language background is associated with unique contextual realities with implications for development in both domains, and (2) contemporary methodological approaches often fail to accurately capture DLLs’ skills in either domain. We present recommendations for future research on the relation between self-regulation and language that take into account these distinct considerations for DLLs.