Associations Between the Home Physical Environment Factors and Child Self- Regulation
The environment is an important external source that affects a child’s cognitive, behavioral, mental, and social development. According to the Bronfenbrenner 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 income and a chaotic home environment. There is very little research addressing physical environmental factors in low-income households and how these factors affect children’s self-regulation. Method: This research qualitatively explores the home physical environment in relation to child 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. Data were collected through surveys, interviews, and on-site observation, and included participants from three different income levels (upper =2, middle =2, and lower =6) with diverse ethnicities. Findings: Thirty-nine environmental factors were derived from parents/caregivers' perspectives. The key findings of the study include: (1) the more the affordances aspects in the environment, the better for the child's self-regulation; (2) spatial factors of the environment influence the child's self-regulation negatively and positively; and (3) there are few variations between income levels in relation to home environmental factors that impact child self-regulation.
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