Gender processes in school functioning and the mediating role of cognitive self-regulation

Jamaal S. Matthews, Loren M. Marulis, Amanda P. Williford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The catalysts for gender discrepancies across developmental outcomes are widely debated. This study examines cognitive self-regulation (CSR) as a mechanism for understanding gender differences in scholastic performance-both subjective school functioning and objective standardized achievement. Utilizing a national sample from the NICHD SECCYD (n= 1364), not only does CSR (i.e., attention and executive function) in 3rd grade mediate the relation between early mother-child interactions (at 54. months) and scholastic outcomes (in 5th grade), but it also predicts gender discrepancies favoring girls in grades, work persistence and socio-emotional development. Additional exploratory evidence suggests quality mother-child interactions may be more meaningful for girls' CSR; however, for boys, CSR is more predictive of school functioning. Both school functioning and standardized achievement were utilized in this study and highlight that gender differences in development and learning are nuanced and not readily discernible across all measures of scholastic performance. Implications for future research, intervention, and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-137
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Academic achievement
  • Attention
  • Gender
  • School functioning
  • Self-regulation
  • Social development


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