Individual Characteristics, Family Factors, and Classroom Experiences as Predictors of Low-Income Kindergarteners’ Social Skills

  •  Shayl Griffith    
  •  David Arnold    
  •  Mary-Ellen Voegler-Lee    
  •  Janis Kupersmidt    


There has been increasing awareness of the need for research and theory to take into account the intersection of individual characteristics and environmental contexts when examining predictors of child outcomes. The present longitudinal, multi-informant study examined the cumulative and interacting contributions of child characteristics (language skills, inattention/hyperactivity, and aggression) and preschool and family contextual factors in predicting kindergarten social skills in 389 low-income preschool children. Child characteristics and classroom factors, but not family factors, predicted teacher-rated kindergarten social skills, while child characteristics alone predicted change in teacher-rated social skills from preschool to kindergarten. Child characteristics and family factors, but not classroom factors, predicted parent-rated kindergarten social skills. Family factors alone predicted change in parent-rated social skills from preschool to kindergarten. Individual child characteristics did not interact with family or classroom factors in predicting parent- or teacher-rated social skills, and support was therefore found for an incremental, rather than an interactive, predictive model of social skills. The findings underscore the importance of assessing outcomes in more than one context, and of considering the impact of both individual and environmental contextual factors on children’s developing social skills when designing targeted intervention programs to prepare children for kindergarten.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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