A developmental cascade model of early emotional and social competence predicting later peer acceptance was examined in a community sample of 440 children across the ages of 2 to 7. Children's externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, social skills within the classroom and peer acceptance were examined utilizing a multitrait-multimethod approach. A series of longitudinal cross-lag models that controlled for shared rater variance were fit using structural equation modeling. Results indicated there was considerable stability in children's externalizing behavior problems and classroom social skills over time. Contrary to expectations, there were no reciprocal influences between externalizing behavior problems and emotion regulation, although higher levels of emotion regulation were associated with decreases in subsequent levels of externalizing behaviors. Finally, children's early social skills also predicted later peer acceptance. Results underscore the complex associations among emotional and social functioning across early childhood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health