Associations between the home physical environment and child self-regulation: a conceptual exploration



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The environment is an important external source that affects a child's cognitive, behavioral, mental, and social development. According to Bronfenbrenner's ecological system model, the interaction between a child and his/her environment can influence and shape the development of self-regulation. A child's home is part of a complex microsystem referred to as the immediate environment, consisting of different factors such as family socioeconomic level, chaotic home environment, and other factors. Interior design is a component in the child's physical environment and can play a role in improving self-regulation. There is very little research addressing physical environmental factors in low socioeconomic households and how these affect children's self-regulation. The current research builds a framework that ties together theories on environmental design and establishes a relationship between the physical environment and a child's ability to self-regulate and manage stress. This review addresses the following research question—What is the association between the home physical environment and child self-regulation? A scoping review was conducted that included 52 sources of published literature and theories from different disciplines including mathematics, psychology, family science studies, and environmental design. A variety of theories, such as Self-regulatory Model of Behavior, Bronfenbrenner ecological model, and Allostasis Theory were used to establish a foundation for further study on the importance of physical environment. The principal finding is that according to these theories there is a link between the home environment and a child's self-regulation. By understanding the relationship be-tween physical environment and self-regulation, future research can identify aspects of the physical environment with the greatest impact on a child's self-regulation. This research contributes to the theories, principles, and practices of the field of environmental psychology and interior design.


Under embargo until 23 August 2025. © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


Child Self-Regulation, Home Environment, Low Socioeconomic Status, Allostasis Load


Bagais, R., & Pati, D. (2023). Associations between the home physical environment and child self-regulation: A conceptual exploration. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 90, 102096.