Early Self-Regulation Leads to Improved Stress Tolerance

The University of Pittsburgh reviewed a 25 year longitudinal study covering the effects of early support for individuals and families in low income households. The study identified relationship between early intervention and behavioral regulation later in life.

Results indicate that early emotional support, including family and individual therapy for members of the family, helped with effective communication and proper goal setting.

It was hypothesized that the development of self-regulation early in life would lead to improved functioning in adolescences and adulthood.

25 years later, brain imaging was performed on the children that participate in this study.

Imaging results indicated improved brain development, improved memory and executive functioning, and less behavioral issues than their peer group.


Previously, we have discussed the numerous benefits of parental and communal support early in life.

  • For parents, it can be validation for providing support and encouragement in academic and social settings.
  • In school, it is important for students to be challenged and for parents and teachers to help them develop effective problem solving skills and stress tolerance.

For emotional issues, parents and mental health professionals must be able to identify symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depressive disorder, and pervasive anxiety so early intervention is possible.

Being involved is beneficial both in the short term and long term.

It is incredible to see how not only behavioral improvements can be had but also physiological changes leading to improved function can be had with early support and intervention.

Source: Jamie L. Hanson, Alysha D. Gillmore, Tianyi Yu, Christopher J. Holmes, Emily S. Hallowell, Allen W. Barton, Steven R.H. Beach, Adrianna Galván, James MacKillop, Michael Windle, Edith Chen, Gregory E. Miller, Lawrence H. Sweet, Gene H. Brody. A Family Focused Intervention Influences Hippocampal-Prefrontal Connectivity Through Gains in Self-Regulation. Child Development, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13154