Kids’ decisionmaking abilities linked to behavior in adolescence, Oregon State study concludes
By Amy Wang
on December 23, 2014 at 5:30 AM, updated December 23, 2014 at 5:31 AM

Elementary school-age children who aren’t adept at making decisions could be more likely to exhibit behavioral problems as they move into adolescence, according to an Oregon State University researcher.

But parents can help kids learn and strengthen decisionmaking skills, said Joshua Weller, an assistant professor of psychology whose research interests include individual differences in decisionmaking. Weller recently co-authored a study on the topic, “Preadolescent Decision-Making Competence Predicts Interpersonal Strengths and Difficulties,” in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

“The earlier you are developing these skills, the better,” Weller said. “They are skills that can be learned, just like you would learn math or you would learn other types of critical thinking skills.”

The study involved about 100 children ages 10 and 11 who were assessed on their decisionmaking abilities and their confidence in their decisions, then again two years later on emotional difficulties, conduct issues and problems with peers. When researchers compared the decision making and behavioral scores, they found that children with less decision making competence were more likely to have behavioral problems.

Weller said decisionmaking competence includes several components:

Framing: “We put a spin on something and when we put a spin on something, it could change how you make a decision,” Weller said.

Full article here.

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