This study investigated the relation between the regulative trait of effortful control, and in particular attention control, and psychopathological symptoms in a sample of 207 non-clinical children aged 8-12 years. For this purpose, children completed self-report scales for measuring regulative traits and various types of psychopathological symptoms (i.e., anxiety, depression, and aggression) and were tested with a neuropsychological battery for measuring attention/effortful control capacity. Results indicated that self-report and performance-based measures of attention/effortful control were at best moderately correlated. Further, it was found that self-report indexes of attention/effortful control were clearly negatively related to psychopathological symptoms, which provides support for the notion that low regulation is associated with higher levels of psychopathology. Finally, the performance-based measure of attention/effortful control was not convincingly related to psychopathological symptoms.

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Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Muris, P., van der Pennen, E., Sigmond, R., & Mayer, B. (2008). Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and aggression in non-clinical children: Relationships with self-report and performance-based measures of attention and effortful control. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 39(4), 455–467. doi:10.1007/s10578-008-0101-1