Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Frick, Paul

Second Advisor

Morris, Amanda Sheffield

Third Advisor

Scaramella, Laura

Fourth Advisor

Williams-Brewer, Mary

Fifth Advisor

Goldstein, Sara


Examination of child temperament and early adult-child relationships is of vital importance to children's socio-emotional development, school success, and the prevention of future problem behaviors. In response, the current project examined the interaction of parenting style, child temperament, and the quality of the teacher-child relationship in predicting low-income children's school adjustment. One hundred fifty-four children (70 girls and 84 boys), their parents, lead teachers, and teacher aides participated in this study with data collected in both preschool (Head Start) and in Kindergarten. Parents completed questionnaires pertaining to parenting styles and child temperament, while teachers also completed questionnaires on child temperament, teacher-child relationships, social / behavioral adjustment at school, and academic achievement. Children also reported on their relationships with teachers using a puppet interview format. Analyses indicate that children's effortful control and negative reactivity are associated with a wide range of academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional variables. Results of the current study also provide evidence that negative reactivity, parental hostility, and teacher-child conflict are related to children's social-emotional and academic difficulties; however, effortful control and reduced teacher-child conflict moderate the effects of these negative factors on lowincome preschoolers' school adjustment. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of intervention efforts aimed at reducing negative parent-child and negative teacher-child relationships in order to promote positive school adjustment for low-income children.


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