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Self-Regulation for Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Preliminary Effects of the I Control Curriculum

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Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Published online on


Maladaptive adolescent behavior patterns often create escalating conflict with adults and peers, leading to poor long-term social trajectories. To address this, school-based behavior management often consists of contingent reinforcement for appropriate behavior, behavior reduction procedures, and placement in self-contained or alternative settings. Yet, these commonplace practices may not foster the self-regulation processes necessary to override the habitual and negative response sequences that prohibit independent and sustained positive social functioning. As such, we developed I Control, a curriculum to teach middle school students with significant behavior problems how to engage in appropriate social self-regulation. Pre–post pilot data analyses using Mplus from 152 students in 14 schools/17 classrooms indicated that students taught I Control evidenced more positive scores than controls on teacher-reported contextualized executive function, externalizing behavior problems, and general problem behavior, and student-reported emotional control, social problem solving, and externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Also, students who were taught the curriculum had greater curricular knowledge than control students. These positive findings indicate that I Control warrants more extensive investigation.