Funded Projects

Research that shapes the future

The Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families & Schools is an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Using Self-Regulation to Predict Preschoolers' Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Project Information

Principal Investigator: Susan Sheridan
Co-Principal Investigator: Andrew (Drew) White
Funding Agency: Society for the Study of School Psychology
Award Date:
Theme: Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning, Early Education & Development
Project URL: N/A

For more information please contact Susan Sheridan at


Although more than 20 percent of students in the United States suffer from emotional and behavioral disorders, fewer than 1 percent actually receive special education services for those disorders, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Studies indicate young children with behavior disorders begin school on a trajectory toward increased rates of school discipline, alternative education placements and eventual dropout. This trajectory manifests in preschool, where children with behavior problems begin to fall behind their peers in various indicators of school readiness.

This study assesses 150 preschool students from 30 classrooms to examine whether self-regulation — a trait related to numerous indicators of school readiness — is an accurate screener for children at risk of developing behavior disorders. Researchers will analyze data to explore the accuracy of self-regulation as a predictive task.

Findings will provide a first step to incorporating the assessment of self-regulation in early behavioral screening, which will enable earlier identification and intervention among at-risk youths.