Do it yourself: The role of early self-care ability in social skills in Japanese preschool settings

Zhu Zhu, Emiko Tanaka, Etsuko Tomisaki, Taeko Watanabe, Yuko Sawada, Xiang Li, Dandan Jiao, Ammara Ajmal, Munenori Matsumoto, Yantong Zhu, Tokie Anme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-care ability and social skills are potential areas of difficulty for preschool children. However, values about young children's self-care ability are different worldwide. This longitudinal study examined the influence of early self-care ability on social skills at the end of the preschool years. Participants were 509 children recruited from kindergartens and child care centers across Japan, whose self-care ability and social skills were assessed at baseline year and three years later (Age of children in 2015 at baseline: M = 35 months, SD = 6.1 months). The study found that gender was significantly associated with social skills, while preschool facility entrance age was only associated with assertion skills. After controlling gender and entrance age, early self-care ability was still positively related to later assertion and cooperation (Assertion: OR = 2.55, 95% CI = 1.00–6.51; Cooperation: OR = 3.15, 95% CI = 1.23–8.07). Implications of the findings are discussed in the context of cultural diversity, highlighting the importance of cultivating children's age-appropriate self-care ability based on daily observations and evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb


  • Japanese context
  • entrance age
  • gender
  • self-care ability
  • social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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