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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10805/1681

Title: The Social Adjustment In Preschool Age. The Role Of Socio-Emotional Competence And Teacher-Child Relationship Quality On Peer Acceptance
Authors: SETTE, STEFANIA
Tutor: Baumgartner, Emma
Lucidi, Fabio
Keywords: doctoral dissertation
Developmental Psychology
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2012
Abstract: Little attention has been given to the processes by which the qualities of the teacher–child relationship (e.g., close, dependent, or conflictive) and children’s social behavior are related to young children’s social adjustment in early childhood (Palermo et al., 2007). The present dissertation, divided in three studies, investigated the direct and indirect contribution of children’s individual characteristics, quality of teacher-child relationships, and social behavior in an integrated model of peer acceptance. Study 1 aims at evaluating the internal consistency and the factorial validity of the full Student Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS) and Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation scale (SCBE-30) that represent two instruments widely used in international research to measure the teachers’ perception of their relationships with each child and of children’s social competent/incompetent behaviors. To date, no study has examined the factorial validity of the scales, using both Exploratory Factorial Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factorial Analysis (CFA) in Italian children aged from 3 to 6 years. Using the results of study 1, study 2 aims at examining the relations between the quality of teacher-child relationship, children’s social-emotional behavior and peer acceptance (likability) in a sample of Italian preschool-aged children. Contrary to other studies, we used multiple informants (teachers, children themselves, and peers) and multiple methods (interviews with children, sociometric testing, and assessment scales). Study 3 aims at analyzing the relations between the quality of teacher-child relationship, children’s social-emotional behavior (anxiety-withdrawal, anger-aggression, and social competence), and peer likability in a longitudinal perspective. Less attention is given to the relation between withdrawal behavior and school adjustment over time. Given the small sample size, our hypotheses regarding the relation between anxiety-withdrawal and peer likability was somewhat exploratory.Our findings revealed that the modified three-factor versions of the STRS and SCBE-30 scales can be considered valid instruments for examining the quality of teacher-child relationships and children’s social behavior. The original structures of the STRS scale with three correlated factors (conflict, closeness, and dependency) and of SCBE-30 scale with three correlated factors (social competence, anger-aggression, and anxiety-withdrawal) were replicated.In line with other international research, the current work confirmed the processes by which the quality of teacher-child relationship (positive versus negative) may predict children’s social behavior and peer likeability. The positive emotional connection between teachers and children promoted children’s competent social behavior, and in turn, social competent behavior resulted as the only behavior related to peer acceptance. The results of the longitudinal study showed that socially competent behavior play an important role over time. The greater social competence displayed by children during time 1 and their progress during time 2, the more acceptable were they by their classmates. An important result regarded the effect of aggressive behavior on peer likeability. In our sample, aggressive behavior showed a long term effect on peer acceptance. Moreover, our results demonstrated that anxiety-withdrawal behavior was not related to peer likeability over time. In conclusion, the present dissertation suggests the importance of giving systematic attention to the study of teacher-child relationship and of children’s social behavior, beginning with the first years of kindergarten, through instruments widely used in international research. In addition, this present work demonstrated that children who showed close, warm interaction with teachers and cooperative play with peers, tended to be more accepted by other children, while aggressive or withdrawn children , tended to have negative relationships with teachers and to engage in disruptive play with peers. Children who are able to navigate the preschool environment effectively may benefit from these early social experiences as they enter primary school. Conversely, the transition to primary school may be more critical for anxious-withdrawn, or angry-aggressive children, who meet with difficulty in the preschool/kindergarten’s social arena.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10805/1681
Research interests: Developmental Psychology - Socio-emotional Competence - Teacher-Child Relationship - Social and Academic Adjustment
Personal skills keywords: Quantitative Psychology
Children's Socio - Emotional Evaluation
Teacher Training
Appears in PhD:PROSOCIALITA', INNOVAZIONE ED EFFICACIA COLLETTIVA NEI CONTESTI EDUCATIVI ED ORGANIZZATIVI

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