The study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of rigorously evaluated interventions to improve self-regulation in children and adolescents

Childhood and adolescence self-regulation (SR) is gaining importance as a target of intervention because of mounting evidence of its positive associations with health, social and educational outcomes.

A total of 14?369 published records were screened, of which 147 were identified for full-text review and 49 studies reporting 50 interventions were included in the final evaluation. Results were summarized by historical review and meta-analysis.

This review identified 17 cluster randomized trials and 32 randomized clinical trials evaluating self-regulation interventions, which included a total of 23?098 participants ranging in age from 2 to 17 years (median age, 6.0 years).

Consistent improvement in self-regulation was reported in 16 of 21 curriculum-based interventions (76%), 4 of the 8 mindfulness and yoga interventions (50%), 5 of 9 family-based programs (56%), 4 of 6 exercise-based programs (67%), and 4 of 6 social and personal skills interventions (67%), or a total of 33 of 50 responses (66%).

A meta-analysis evaluating associations of interventions with self-regulation task performance scores showed a positive effect of such interventions with the pooled effect size of 0.42 (95% CI, 0.32-0.53). Only 24 studies reported data on distal outcomes (29 outcomes).

Positive associations were reported in 11 of 13 studies (85%) on academic achievement, 4 of 5 studies on substance abuse (80%), and in all studies reporting on conduct disorders (n = 3), studies on social skills (n = 2), studies on depression (n = 2), studies on behavioral problems (n = 2), and study on school suspensions (n = 1).

No effect was seen in two studies reporting on academic achievement, one study reporting on substance abuse, and one additional research saying on psychological well-being.

In conclusion, our study findings suggest that SR interventions are adequate and that improvements in educational, health and social outcomes can follow developments in SR. Different types of responses can be used to improve self-regulation, and many of these strategies appear useful.