Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2014

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Graham Reid

Second Advisor

Kathryn Turnbull

Abstract

Executive functions are a set of higher level cognitive processes that are necessary for the self-regulation of behavior and emotion, which allow individuals to engage in planned, goal-oriented behavior, and guide attention. Emotion Regulation (ER) is the ability to control emotional arousal and adapt to the demands of the daily environment. Sleep has been demonstrated to be important for daily functioning in children, adolescents and adults. However, the impact of emotion regulation on the relationship between sleep and executive functioning (EF) in healthy preschool children has not yet been tested. This study investigated the relationship between ER, EF, and negative emotions after sleep restriction in healthy preschool children. It was hypothesized that ER scores would predict EF scores and negative emotions, and that this relationship would be moderated by the amount of sleep restriction experienced by the participant. Participants were typically developing boys and girls between the ages of 3-5 years (N=55), without sleeping difficulties. A significant relationship between ER and Delay of Gratification was found. No other significant effects were found. Results are discussed in relation to previous literature and specific characteristics of the sample.

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