Health and self-regulation among school-age children experiencing family homelessness

Andrew J. Barnes, Theresa L. Lafavor, J. J. Cutuli, Lei Zhang, Charles N. Oberg, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Children in homeless families have high levels of adversity and are at risk for behavior problems and chronic health conditions, however little is known about the relationship between cognitive-emotional self-regulation and health among school-aged homeless children. Children (n = 86; mean age 10.5) living in shelters were assessed for health, family stress/adversity, emotional-behavioral regulation, nonverbal intellectual abilities, and executive function. Vision problems were the most prevalent health condition, followed by chronic respiratory conditions. Cumulative risk, child executive function, and self-regulation problems in children were uniquely related to child physical health. Homeless children experience problems with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral regulation as well as physical health, occurring in a context of high psychosocial risk. Several aspects of children’s self-regulation predict physical health in 9-to 11-year-old homeless children. Health promotion efforts in homeless families should address individual differences in children’s self-regulation as a resilience factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


  • Child development
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Family homelessness
  • Middle childhood
  • Psychosocial risk
  • Resilience


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