An integrative review of ethnic and cultural variation in socialization and children's self-regulation

Elizabeth A. Lecuyer, Yi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aim: To examine the evidence for cross-cultural variation in socialization and children's normative self-regulation, based on a contextual-developmental perspective. Background: Nurses and healthcare workers in multi-cultural societies must understand diversity in socializing influences (including parenting) and in children's behaviour. A contextual-developmental perspective implies that normative cultural and ethnic values will influence socializing processes and behaviour, which in turn will influence children's self-regulation. Design: Integrative review. Data sources: Studies were located using five major search engines from 1990-2011. Domains of a contextual-developmental perspective and a comprehensive definition of self-regulation assisted the generation of search terms. Review methods: Selected studies compared at least two ethnic or cultural groups and addressed contextual-developmental domains: (1) culturally specific social values, beliefs, or attitudes; (2) socializing behaviours; and (3) children's normative self-regulation. Results: Eleven studies about children's self-regulation were found to have data consistent with a contextual-developmental perspective. Studies used descriptive correlational or comparative designs with primarily convenience sampling; eight confirmed stated hypotheses, three were exploratory. Findings across studies evidenced coherent patterns of sociocultural influence on children's attention, compliance, delay of gratification, effortful control and executive function. Conclusion: A contextual-developmental perspective provided a useful perspective to examine normative differences in values, socializing behaviours and children's self-regulation. This perspective and these findings are expected to guide future research, to assist nurses and healthcare providers to understand diversity in parenting and children's behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-750
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Advanced practice
  • Child behaviour
  • Child nursing
  • Cultural issues
  • Ethnicity
  • Literature review
  • Multicultural issues
  • Nursing
  • Parent-child interaction
  • Parenting
  • Self-regulation
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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