نقش تنظیم احساسات در موفقیت تحصیلی کودکان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|34886||2007||صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of School Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 1, February 2007, Pages 3–19
This study investigated the role of emotion regulation in children's early academic success using a sample of 325 kindergarteners. A mediational analysis addressed the potential mechanisms through which emotion regulation relates to children's early academic success. Results indicated that emotion regulation was positively associated with teacher reports of children's academic success and productivity in the classroom and standardized early literacy and math achievement scores. Contrary to predictions, child behavior problems and the quality of the student teacher relationship did not mediate these relations. However, emotion regulation and the quality of the student–teacher relationship uniquely predicted academic outcomes even after accounting for IQ. Findings are discussed in terms of how emotion regulation skills facilitate children's development of a positive student–teacher relationship as well as cognitive processing and independent learning behavior, all of which are important for academic motivation and success.
The early childhood years have recently been identified as a crucial period for the development of important executive functions such as attention, inhibition, working memory (Anderson, 2002 and Blair, 2002) and literacy skills (Aram, 2005) that are necessary for successful school transition and later academic success. Children demonstrating early academic and learning difficulties are not only more likely to display later academic difficulties including school drop-out (Horn & Packard, 1985), but they are also at risk for developing later peer rejection (Ladd, 1990 and Risi et al., 2003) as well as emotional and behavioral disorders including conduct disorder (Bennett et al., 2003 and Moffitt et al., 1981). Given these negative outcomes as well as the consistent finding that academic success tends to be stable after first grade (Entwisle & Hayduk, 1988), researchers have attempted to examine sociocultural, school, family, and individual factors that contribute to a child's early school success. Among the individual factors associated with academic success, most research has focused on anxiety (Ashcraft, 2002, Eady, 1999, Normandeau and Guay, 1998 and Strauss et al., 1987), aggression (Farmer et al., 2002 and Wentzel, 1993), verbal abilities (Kastner, May, & Hildman, 2001), and intelligence (Lassiter and Bardos, 1995 and Lynam et al., 1993). Because of the co-occurrence of children's emotional and behavioral difficulties and academic difficulties (Dodge and Petit, 2003 and Horn and Packard, 1985), one additional factor that is important to investigate is emotion regulation. Although definitions vary, most researchers agree that emotion regulation involves efforts to modulate emotional arousal in a way that facilitates adaptive functioning (Calkins, 1997, Garber and Dodge, 1991 and Keenan and Shaw, 2003). Adaptive functioning refers to numerous global positive outcomes including normative social, cognitive, and language development as well as the ability to cope with daily living tasks and environmental changes (Kamphaus, 1987). In children, academic functioning is a significant component of adaptive functioning. Little research, however, has investigated the role of emotion regulation in children's early academic performance. Given the early stability of academic competence, it is particularly important to examine how emotion regulation contributes to academic success upon formal school entry (i.e., kindergarten). The kindergarten year marks an important transition period for children. As outlined by Rimm-Kaufman and Pianta's (2000) Ecological and Dynamic Model of Transition, the kindergarten environment is qualitatively different from both preschool and home environments. In kindergarten, children must adapt to an ecological system that expects them to accomplish numerous goals such as literacy, numeracy, and socialization skills. Moreover, these goals must be accomplished under decreased supervision due to increased class size and increased emphasis on autonomy (Bronson, Tivnan, & Seppanen, 1995). The novel demands of learning new academic and interpersonal skills, in combination with a lack of the extensive supports offered in preschool, present a challenge for many young children. Consequently, these novel demands coupled with a new academic environment likely elicit various arousing emotions such as excitement, anxiety, and fear. Children's ability to regulate these emotions efficiently may facilitate their transition to kindergarten and consequently their ability to acquire academic information. There is some evidence that emotional regulation aids performance on cognitive tasks, particularly in adults (Phillips, Bull, Adams, & Fraser, 2002). In terms of academic success, Blair (2002) suggests that inefficient emotion regulation physiologically inhibits a child's use of higher order cognitive processes (e.g., working memory, attention, and planning) in the classroom. One consequence of this disruption in higher order cognitive processes is an inability to attend to and retain novel information presented by the classroom teacher. In addition to directly affecting cognitive processing, emotion regulation may also be indirectly related to early academic success. One mechanism by which children's emotion regulation skills may contribute to their early academic success is through behavioral control in the classroom. A number of studies have indeed found that adolescents with deficits in behavioral control – such as those with externalizing problems including aggression and antisocial behavior – are more likely to have both co-occurring (Al Otaiba and Fuchs, 2002, Malecki and Elliot, 2002 and Wentzel, 1993) and later academic difficulties (Masten et al., 2005 and Risi et al., 2003). These observed deficits in behavioral control negatively impact the student's ability to attend to information presented by teachers as well as complete school related tasks or assignments that foster learning (Kuhl & Kraska, 1989). Most of these studies, however, have focused on middle-school children or adolescents (Masten et al., 2005 and Normandeau and Guay, 1998) while the early childhood period remains less explored. One of the few studies conducted with a younger, kindergarten sample (Howse, Calkins, Anastopoulos, Keane, & Shelton, 2003) found positive associations between parental reports of young children's emotion regulation and children's scores on a standardized achievement test. Moreover, this relation was mediated by children's behavioral regulation in the classroom (i.e., their ability to refrain from disruptive behavior in the classroom). Another potential mechanism by which emotion regulation skills affect children's early academic success is by affecting the quality of the student–teacher relationship. The quality of children's relationships with their teachers has increasingly been recognized as an important contributor to children's early school adaptation (Birch and Ladd, 1997, Pianta et al., 1995 and Pianta and Stuhlman, 2004). A high quality student–teacher relationship supports the child (e.g., offering praise, encouragement, guidance, and discipline) throughout the challenging and novel educational environment to which the child must adjust. Several studies have examined how the quality of the student–teacher relationship relates to children's classroom behavior. Recent research demonstrates that a positive student–teacher relationship characterized by warmth and closeness decreases children's subsequent aggressive behavior in the classroom (Hughes, Cavell, & Jackson, 1999) and is a protective factor for children at risk of behavioral problems (Howes et al., 1994 and Pianta et al., 1995). Hamre and Pianta (2001) found that kindergarteners whose relationships with teachers were characterized by dependency and low conflict had fewer disciplinary actions and were less likely to be suspended from school through the eighth grade. Conversely, a student–teacher relationship characterized by conflict and controlling interactions increases a child's risk for later behavior problems (Pianta et al., 1995). The development of a positive relationship requires both the teacher and student to exhibit some aspects of social competence such as social skills (e.g., good eye contact, knowing when to start and stop a conversation) as well as the ability to inhibit negative behaviors (e.g., aggression). Consequently, we postulate that the child's level of social competence will likely affect how easy or difficult it will be for that child to enter and prosper in the relationship. Empirical evidence has shown that teachers have low tolerance for behaviorally disordered children who do not exhibit appropriate social behavior, and interact with these children in a more angry, critical, and punishing manner (Coie & Koeppl, 1990). On the other hand, children who display better interpersonal skills may be more likely to elicit warm and positive interactions. The modulation of arousal required by emotion regulation has been hypothesized to affect children's social relationships by facilitating an organism's ability to engage and disengage with the environment (Porges, 2003). This ability can be thought of as a core aspect of good social skills as children must know when to appropriately engage with others (i.e., talk to or play with them) and when to disengage with them (i.e., ignore them). This constant shift in communication and behavioral engagement and disengagement during social interactions may be easier for children who are able to regulate their emotions. Not surprisingly children with better emotion regulation skills have been found to display greater social competence, better social skills, and greater peer popularity (Dunn and Brown, 1994, Eisenberg et al., 1993, Eisenberg et al., 1996, Eisenberg et al., 1997, Fabes et al., 1999 and Graziano et al., in press). In the same manner, students with poor emotion regulation skills are more likely to have poor interpersonal skills and greater externalizing problems, such as defiance, hyperactivity, and fighting behavior (Dunn and Brown, 1994 and Rydell et al., 2003). It is therefore reasonable to expect that children's emotion regulation skills will be related to the quality of the student–teacher relationship. The student–teacher relationship has been shown to predict academic success over several years (Hamre and Pianta, 2001 and Pianta and Stuhlman, 2004). More specifically, the student–teacher relationship affects children's motivation to learn. Children who are highly motivated and self-confident are more engaged in the learning process (Deci & Ryan, 1985). A positive, warm relationship with a teacher motivates students to achieve to please their teachers (Urdan & Maehr, 1995). Furthermore, teachers use a warm and positive relationship with their students to encourage and reinforce appropriate self-regulatory behaviors that are important for learning (Tyson, 2000). Conversely, children who have a relationship characterized by conflict with the teacher are less engaged in the classroom and are more likely to struggle academically (Ladd et al., 1999 and Ladd and Burgess, 2001). Removing students from a supportive teacher relationship to one in which they perceive lower support decreases academic motivation (Midgley, Feldlaufer, & Eccles, 1989). Thus, it is clear that the student–teacher relationship is important in promoting children's academic success via classroom engagement as well as improved motivation. Although various lines of evidence support the notion that the student–teacher relationship is related to emotion regulation and academic success, to our knowledge no study to date has examined these components in a single model. Because teachers tend to interact more positively with children with better social skills and fewer behavior problems – two indicators of appropriate emotion regulation skills – it is reasonable to predict that these children receive more encouragement and positive attention compared to children who are emotionally dysregulated. This positive relationship likely motivates students to engage in learning behavior to please the teacher. Greater engagement and motivation during classroom activities and tasks will then help children learn, which may lead to greater academic success. Most studies that have examined children's academic competence have used standardized achievement tests as a measure of children's long-term retention of learned information (Birch and Ladd, 1997, Howse et al., 2003 and Martin et al., 1988). Standardized tests allow researchers to assess children's ability to retain the curriculum learned as well as to compare children's scores across ages and grades. As with all measures, however, they have some limitations such as the use of a limited number of items to sample various skills as well as the use of response formats (e.g., multiple choice) that may not tap into the students' full knowledge of the subject (DuPaul, Rapport, & Perriello, 1991). Teacher ratings of students' achievement in the classroom are a useful complement to standardized achievement tests for several reasons. First, examining academic success via teacher reports provides important information regarding the student's academic behavior in the classroom, such as the ability to independently attend to and complete assignments. Second, teacher report also provides information regarding the student's ability to independently grasp new information and complete classroom assignments accurately. Thus, teacher ratings provide a more comprehensive and representative sample of academic content (Gresham, Reschly, & Carey, 1987), as well as provide unique information on children's academic behavior. The method of using teacher ratings of children's academic success, however, has its own limitations such as rater bias. For example, children who display good interpersonal skills are typically also rated higher in intellectual competence (Ford, 1982). Thus, to obtain a comprehensive assessment on children's academic competence and to build on previous research, the current study examined both a teacher rating of academic success as well as individually administered standardized achievement tests. The first goal of the current study was to determine whether children's emotion regulation skills relate to early academic success in the classroom as well as on standardized reading and mathematics achievement tests. Based on prior research (Howse et al., 2003), it was hypothesized that children who display better emotion regulation skills would have greater academic success in the classroom and on standardized tests. Secondly and most importantly, the current study sought to examine and compare the mechanisms by which emotion regulation relates to academic success. Thus, children's behavior problems as well as the quality of the student–teacher relationship were examined as possible mechanisms explaining the relation between emotion regulation and academic success. This examination of both an individual factor (i.e., behavior problems) as well as a transactional or relationship factor (i.e., the student–teacher relationship) as potential mediators in a single model will significantly advance our knowledge in this area by identifying the most salient mechanism by which a child's emotion regulation skills relate to early academic success. Moreover, by accounting for multiple mediators in a single model it is possible to determine if emotion regulation does indeed affect cognitive processing independent of other factors that have been shown to be important for learning and academic success. Based on Rimm-Kaufman and Pianta's (2000) Ecological and Dynamic Model of Transition, we hypothesized that the transactional process of the student–teacher relationship will help account for how children's emotion regulation skills relate to academic competence. Consistent with this theory, the quality of the student–teacher relationship was hypothesized to be the most salient mediator, above and beyond the effects of an individual factor such as behavior problems. Thus, a positive student–teacher relationship, characterized by warmth and low conflict, was expected to be related to greater academic success and better regulation skills. Finally, given that children's poor emotion regulation skills may affect the development of a positive student–teacher relationship, we hypothesized that the quality of the student–teacher relationship would mediate the relation between children's emotion regulation skills and academic success both in the classroom and on standardized tests.