Matching Items (5)

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Developmental changes in anxiety and social competence in early childhood: exploring growth and the roles of child temperament and gender

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This dissertation examined how anxiety levels and social competence change across the course of early elementary school, as well as how individual differences at the transition to kindergarten may influence

This dissertation examined how anxiety levels and social competence change across the course of early elementary school, as well as how individual differences at the transition to kindergarten may influence these trajectories. Previous research has supported unidirectional relations among anxiety and social competence, but few studies explore how inter- and intra-individual changes in social competence and anxiety may be related across time. From a developmental perspective, studying these trajectories following the transition to kindergarten is important, as cognitive and emotion regulation capacities increase markedly across kindergarten, and the relative success with which children navigate this transition can have a bearing on future social and emotional functioning across elementary school. In addition, given gender differences in anxiety manifestation and social competence development broadly, gender differences were also examined in an exploratory manner. Data from parent and teacher reports of a community sample of 291 children across kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades were analyzed. Results from bivariate growth models revealed steeper increases in anxiety, relative to peers in the sample, were associated with steeper decreases in social competence across time. This finding held after controlling for externalizing behavior problems at each time point, which suggests that relations among anxiety and social competence may be independent of other behavior problems commonly associated with poor social adjustment. Temperament variables were associated with changes in social competence, such that purportedly "risky" temperament traits of higher negative emotionality and lower attention control were associated with concurrently lower social competence in kindergarten, but with relatively steeper increases in social competence across time. Temperament variables in kindergarten were unrelated with changes in anxiety across time. Gender differences in relations among anxiety in kindergarten and growth in social competence also were revealed. Findings for teacher and parent reports of child behavior varied. Results are discussed with respect to contexts that may drive differences between parent and teacher reports of child behavior, as well as key developmental considerations that may help to explain why kindergarten temperament variables examined herein appear to predict changes in social competence but not changes in anxiety levels.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Genetic and environmental influences on early social competence: moderation by parental social support

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This study examined whether social support available to parents moderated the heritability of parent-reported social approach at 12 months (N = 286 twin pairs, 52.00% female) and social competence at

This study examined whether social support available to parents moderated the heritability of parent-reported social approach at 12 months (N = 286 twin pairs, 52.00% female) and social competence at 30 months (N = 259 twin pairs, 53.30% female). Genetic and environmental covariance across age is also reported. Social support consistently moderated genetic influences on children’s social approach and competence, such that heritability was highest when parents reported low social support. Shared environment was not moderated by social support and explained continuity across age. Findings provide further evidence that genetic and environmental influences on development vary across context. When parents are supported, environmental influences on children’s social competence are larger, perhaps because support helps parents provide a broadly promotive environment.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Social Competence Growth in Preschool: Individual Differences and the Role of Classroom Context

Description

Social-emotional competence (SEC), or effectiveness of social interaction, plays a central role in children’s health and well-being. The three goals of the current study were to describe the development of

Social-emotional competence (SEC), or effectiveness of social interaction, plays a central role in children’s health and well-being. The three goals of the current study were to describe the development of SEC during a preschool year; identify an appropriate factor structure for observed teacher-child interactions; and predict SEC growth from children’s characteristics (emotional competence, language risk, gender, and race/ethnicity), teacher-child relationship quality, and classroom characteristics (relational climate, observed teacher-child interaction quality, and curriculum). Children’s social competence, anger/aggression, effortful control, and emotion knowledge (N =822) was assessed at three time points during a preschool year via teachers’ reports and behavioral assessments. In the fall, teachers reported the quality of their relationships with children and teacher-child interactions were observed in classrooms. Aim 1 results indicated that children exhibited linear increases in effortful control and social competence and stability in anger/aggression, although social competence was the only construct where linear change varied among children. Due to a lack of longitudinal measurement invariance, growth in latent emotion knowledge could not be evaluated. Several gender and racial/ethnic differences were identified in SEC intercepts, but not the social competence slope. Language risk and impulsivity were consistent predictors of SEC intercepts. Aim 2 results indicated that teacher-child interaction quality was primarily unidimensional. Finally, results from aim 3 indicated that children’s emotional competence at the beginning of the year and classroom relational climate were predictive of growth in social competence. End-of-year social competence levels were associated with supportive teacher-child relationship quality (particularly among girls), high emotional competence, low language risk, and supportive classroom relational climate; girls had higher social competence than boys. Although not directly associated with social competence, observed teacher-child interaction quality was conditionally predictive of the social competence in the context of supportive teacher-child relationships. Further, when observed teacher-child interaction quality was average or high, children with low emotional competence exhibited greater growth in social competence than children with high emotional competence. The results inform our understanding of SEC development, the nature of teacher-child interactions in preschool classrooms serving high-risk populations, and potential school-based mechanisms for promoting social competence.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Risk and protective factors of peer victimization: the role of preschoolers' affiliations with peers

Description

Studies of peer victimization typically focus on behavioral characteristics of the victims, and frequently overlook the role that peers may play. The current study extended previous research by examining how

Studies of peer victimization typically focus on behavioral characteristics of the victims, and frequently overlook the role that peers may play. The current study extended previous research by examining how time spent with two types of peers (externalizing and socially competent) can serve as a risk or protective factor for preschoolers' victimization, and how victimization may differ for boys and girls. In addition, the study explored how affiliating with same-sex and other-sex externalizing and socially competent peers may differentially relate to victimization. Results showed that girls who affiliated with externalizing female peers were significantly more at risk for victimization. In addition, boys and girls who spent time with socially competent male peers (but not female peers) negatively predicted victimization. The results indicate that children's peers, in certain circumstances, may play an important role in victimization. These findings also highlight the importance of considering children's and peers' gender when studying peer processes.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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New directions in social competence research: : examining developmental trajectories and language minority populations

Description

Research regarding social competence is growing rapidly, but there remain a few aspects of social development that merit more attention. The presented pair of studies were planned to address two

Research regarding social competence is growing rapidly, but there remain a few aspects of social development that merit more attention. The presented pair of studies were planned to address two such areas in the social development literature, specifically the longitudinal trajectories of social competence and the role of social competence in second language development in language minority (LM) students. The goal of the first investigation was to examine the developmental trends of interpersonal skills (IS) across the early childhood and elementary school years in a nationally representative, U.S. sample. The goal of the second study was to examine whether differing trajectories of IS development in language minority children in the U.S. were related to their language and literacy (LL) skills at grade 5. Both studies utilized data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 and modeled ratings of children's IS at five time points between fall of kindergarten and spring of fifth grade using latent class growth analyses in Mplus. In study 1, the best model was a quadratic two-class latent class growth analysis. Trajectory class 1 was a higher-level path with a marginally significant non-linear shape and class 2 was a primarily stable, moderate level path with a slight, non-significant increase over time. The same pattern of results emerged for both boys and girls separately as with the combined-sex model, and in all three final models the proportion of the sample in the higher-level class was greater than the moderate-level class. In study 2 a sample of U.S. children whose primary language at home was something other than English was utilized. LL at the start of kindergarten and sex were included as covariates and LL in fifth grade as a distal outcome. The best model for the data was a cubic two-class latent class growth analysis. Class 1 followed a higher-level path with small, incremental change over time and class 2 was a moderate-level path with greater undulation. Both covariates significantly predicted latent class and language and literacy scores at grade 5 differed significantly across classes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014