Self-control is protective against psychopathology in childhood. However, too much self-control, namely overcontrol, potentiates risk. Overcontrol is a constellation of child characteristics related to high need for control, perfectionism, inflexibility, social comparison, and performance monitoring and is a transdiagnostic risk factor associated with psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. However, there are no quick and developmentally appropriate screeners to identify overcontrol in early childhood, when overcontrol purportedly becomes stable. The current study validated the Overcontrol in Youth Checklist (OCYC) in 4–7 year old children and examined relationships with cognitive, social, and psychiatric, neural and behavioral indicators. The OCYC demonstrated good psychometrics and was associated with deficits in cognitive shifting, social functioning, and preschool psychopathology. Higher OCYC scores were associated with a blunted ΔERN, an indicator of performance monitoring in preschoolers. Findings demonstrate the OCYC to be a developmentally valid measure of overcontrol that identifies this transdiagnostic risk factor early in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Behavioral inhibition
  • Early childhood
  • Error-related negativity
  • Overcontrol
  • Transdiagnostic


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