Self-regulation is critical to social and personality development in all cultures. Self-regulation may have developmental origins in temperament, yet it also interacts with socialization processes. This research specifically probes children's self-regulation during resistance to temptation. Socialization of self-regulation may be influenced by the way adults communicate rules about cheating. The impact of adult communications will interact, however, with personality characteristics of the child receiving the message. When adult messages stress matching performance to standards (conscientiousness), then different children will cheat than when adult messages stress maintaining positive social relations (agreeableness). Children (N = 371) were placed in a testing situation to assess resistance to temptation. After completing ratings on the Big Five dimensions of personality, children were randomly assigned to one of three message conditions. Resistance was related to adult communication and to personality. Outcomes were discussed in terms of socialization of self-regulation and the differential activation of motive systems by adult communications about cheating.


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pp. 287-314
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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