Self-control plays a significant role in child and adolescent development. The school environment is suggested as an important factor associated with individual differences in self-control. Among the many facets of school environment, school discipline is thought of as a critical factor that effectively develops students’ capacities for self-control. However, existing findings are mixed. To take stock of the literature, this meta-analysis summarizes the overall association between three school discipline components (i.e., structure, support, and teacher-student relationship) and self-control from preschoolers to high school students. Based on 68 studies reporting 278 effect sizes (N = 57,798), the results revealed that the overall effect size for the association between school discipline and self-control was small to medium (r =.190, p <.001, 95% confidence interval [.151,.229]). Moderator analyses showed that effect sizes were similar in magnitude across school discipline components, gender and age of students, region, report informant of school discipline measures, reliability of school discipline and self-control measures, and research design. The effect sizes were stronger for the studies using self-report measures to assess self-control (compared to studies using observation/tasks or other-informant measures) and for studies that examined general self-control (compared to cognitive self-control). Moreover, the effect sizes for the association between school discipline and social-emotional self-control were stronger for older students. These findings point to the importance of school discipline associated with individual differences in self-control in students from preschool to high school.
- social-emotional competence