Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of relations among Taiwanese elementary-aged children's effortful control, social relationships, and adjustment at school
by Huang, Chin-Fang, Ph.D., The University of Iowa, 2010, 183; 3409498
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the present study was to examine the relations among Taiwanese elementary school children’s effortful control, social relationships and their adjustment at school. Data were gathered on 407 third- to sixth-grade children (81 third graders, 79 fourth graders, 116 fifth graders, and 131 sixth graders) attending three low- to middle-class public elementary schools in Taipei County, Taiwan. Participating children as well as their parents, teachers, and peers provided questionnaire and peer sociometric data. Two main research questions were addressed: (a) whether there were direct relations among children’s effortful control, social relationships, and adjustment at school; (b) whether social relationships mediate the relations between children’s effortful control and their adjustment at school. Additionally, two alternative models were tested to evaluate the likelihood of other conceptual considerations.

Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data and examine the direct and meditational relations among the study constructs. As expected findings of this study provided evidence for the direct effects of effortful control on children’s adjustment at school. Moreover, the role of teacher-child relationships as a mediator in the pathways from effortful control to children’s adjustment at school (i.e., social behavior, school attitudes, and academic adjustment) was strongly supported. Consistent with the hypotheses, the meditational effects of peer relationships were also clearly supported in the pathways from effortful control to social behavior as well as school attitudes. However, inconsistent with the hypothesis, there is no evidence of a mediating effect of peer relationships by which effortful control contributes to academic adjustment. Finally, compared with the alternative models, the hypothesized model best fit the given data.

In general, the current study suggested that children’s self-regulatory capabilities (i.e., effortful control) influence their adjustment at school both directly and indirectly through their relationships with teachers and peers. This study contributes to the literature of children’s school adjustment by examining the effects of both dispositional self-regulation and social relationships. It is also one of the first studies to examine how teacher-child relationships and peer relationships are linked to multiple aspects of children’s adjustment at school. Practical implications include a rationale to provide parents, caregivers, and teachers with specific strategies and techniques to support the development of effortful control. The findings of the study also call for a need to develop preventive interventions or training programs focusing on the development of positive classroom relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schuh, Kathy L., Reeve, Johnmarshall
School: The University of Iowa
Department: Psychological & Quantitative Foundations
School Location: United States -- Iowa
Source: DAI-A 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Educational psychology
Keywords: China, Effortful control, Emotion-related regulation, Peer relationships, School adjustment, Structural equation modeling, Taiwan, Teacher-child relationships
Publication Number: 3409498
ISBN: 978-1-124-07064-3
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