Variations of the self-imposed delay-of-gratification situation in preschool were compared to determine when individual differences in this situation may predict aspects of cognitive and self-regulatory competence and coping in adolescence. Preschool children from a university community participated in experiments that varied features of the self-imposed delay situation. Experimental analyses of the cognitive-attentional processes that affect waiting in this situation helped identify conditions in which delay behavior would be most likely to reflect relevant cognitive and attentional competencies. As hypothesized, in those conditions, coherent patterns of statistically significant correlations were found between seconds of delay time in such conditions in preschool and cognitive and academic competence and ability to cope with frustration and stress in adolescence.
Shoda, Yuichi; Mischel, Walter; and Peake, Philip K., "Predicting Adolescent Cognitive and Self-Regulatory Competencies From Preschool Delay of Gratification: Identifying Diagnostic Conditions" (1990). Psychology: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.