Matching Items (3)

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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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Date Created
  • 2020

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Tenderness expression as a signal for trustworthiness

Description

The present research expands on prior research that demonstrated a prototypical facial expression in response to cute, baby-like Kindchenschema targets. This expression, referred to as the tenderness expression, is recognizable

The present research expands on prior research that demonstrated a prototypical facial expression in response to cute, baby-like Kindchenschema targets. This expression, referred to as the tenderness expression, is recognizable to onlookers as a response to such stimuli. Across two studies, the current research examined if there were differences in perceptions of trustworthiness (Studies 1 and 2) and willingness to trust (Study 2) toward individuals displaying the tenderness expression as compared to a Duchenne smile or a neutral expression. Results indicate the tenderness expression is associated with lower ratings of trustworthiness relative to a smile, but no differences among the expressions on willingness to trust. Exploratory analyses demonstrate a replicated pattern of differences on the Big Five Personality Inventory among these three expressions. While these findings were not consistent with a priori hypotheses, this research provides further insight into the social implications associated with this tenderness expression.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Shared environment moderates the heritability of temperament in childhood

Description

The interplay of genes and environment on children's development is a complex dynamic process. As behavior geneticists begin to model protective as well as risk factors, and interactive as

The interplay of genes and environment on children's development is a complex dynamic process. As behavior geneticists begin to model protective as well as risk factors, and interactive as well as main effect influences, development is elucidated. It was hypothesized that positive parenting, a quality home environment, and high family cohesion would moderate the heritability of three components of temperament: Effortful Control, Negative Affectivity, and Extraversion/Surgency. Participants were drawn from the Wisconsin Twin Project and consisted of 1573 twins (51% boys), 88.5% Caucasian, M=7.93 years (SD=0.87). Higher order composites for the parenting and family environment moderators were formed from mother and father reports of Behavior Management Self-Assessment, Child Rearing Practices Report, Family Assessment Device, and Family Conflict Scale. Measures of the home environment (LEOS Living Environment Observation Scale and CHAOS Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale) were not composited due to the nature of the variables. Correlational analyses showed a majority of the temperament and environmental measures to be correlated (rs = -.49-.57). For Effortful Control, Negative Affectivity, and Extraversion/Surgency, estimates for the heritability and nonshared environment were 0.60 and 0.40, 0.80 and 0.20, and 0.59 and 0.41, respectively, with no significant main effects of the shared environment. Models incorporating environmental moderation of these estimates yielded parenting as a significant moderator for Negative Affectivity, LEOS for Effortful Control and Extraversion/Surgency, and CHAOS for Effortful Control and Extraversion/Surgency. Results suggest that the quality of the family environment may act as a permissive or determinative influence on the heritability and expression of temperament. Future analyses include the examination of interactive genetic influences. These findings underscore the importance of shared environment, and support the recent literature on the benefits of positive influences on children's development.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011