Publication Date

2011-06-16

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2011-06-16

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2011-05-26

First Committee Member

Heather A. Henderson

Second Committee Member

Rebecca J. Bulotsky Shearer

Third Committee Member

Marygrace Kaiser

Fourth Committee Member

Christine E. Fullmer Delgado

Fifth Committee Member

Maria Carlo

Abstract

The current study took a multi-method approach to examine the influence of temperament on children’s social problem solving (SPS) abilities and, in turn, whether SPS skills are a mechanism through which early temperament influences later social and academic adjustment. Participants included 270 children. Maternal reports of temperament were collected when the children were 2, 3, and 4 years old. At age 5, children were observed while interacting with an unfamiliar peer during an SPS task. At age 7, children were directly assessed on their academic achievement and completed measures of social adjustment. Both reactive and self-regulatory aspects of temperament related to the development of SPS, however, SPS did not relate to adjustment outcomes. Future studies may consider the use of a global SPS coding scheme that captures the integration of various SPS related skills. There was no direct effect of shyness on academic achievement, adding to the mixed literature on the relation between shyness and academics. There was also no direct effect of shyness on child self-report of social adjustment, suggesting that children rated high in shyness are likely forming mutual friendships with their peers, leading to self-perceptions of good friendship quality. Taken together, results suggest that shyness may not always be a risk factor for poor developmental outcomes. There was a positive direct effect of self-regulation on academic achievement, however, no effect on social adjustment. These results suggest that the various dimensions of self-regulation may relate differently to developmental outcomes.

Keywords

Temperament; Social Problem Solving; Academic Achievement; Social Adjustment

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