Guided by an ecological model, the study examined the extent to which domains of teacher-child interaction quality moderated associations between early problem behavior within preschool classroom contexts and social competence. A series of multilevel models were estimated using data from a sample of ethnically and linguistically diverse children from low-income backgrounds (N = 937, children across 53 classrooms). Findings from multilevel models supported direct associations between problem behavior within classroom structured learning, teacher, and peer contexts, and social competence outcomes. Higher classroom organization was directly associated with reductions in disruptive peer play in the classroom at the end of the year. However, cross-level interactions indicated that both higher organizational and instructional support were beneficial in buffering the risks to social competence for children entering preschool exhibiting problem behavior within the peer context. Implications for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.
- Ecological assessment
- Head Start children
- Preschool problem behavior
- Teacher-child interaction quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology