Individual differences in preschool entry behavior

Nathan A. Fox, Tiffany M. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Preschool entry behavior was investigated in 28 three-year-old children who were entering preschool for the first time. Data were collected via parental report and behavior observation of the children as well as recording of resting heart rate. Results revealed an increase in reported sleep disturbance problems 1 week prior to the onset of school. These problems disappeared after the onset of school. The children also displayed a high incidence of solitary behavior and low incidence of interactive behavior during the first weeks of school. However, this pattern reversed itself by the fifth and sixth weeks of school. Individual differences in the children's vagal tone, a measure of parasympthetic control over heart rate, and temperament predicted solitary and interactive behavior patterns over the first 6 weeks of preschool. Children with high vagal tone and activity level and low distractibility showed a greater decrease in solitary play behavior and a greater increase in interactive play behavior over the first 6 weeks of preschool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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