Typology of emotional and behavioral adjustment for low-income children: A child-centered approach

Rebecca J. Bulotsky-Shearer, John W. Fantuzzo, Paul A. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


An empirical typology of classroom emotional and behavioral adjustment was developed for preschool children living in urban poverty. Multistage hierarchical cluster analyses were applied to identify six distinct and reliable subtypes of classroom adjustment, differentiated by high and low levels of behavioral (aggressive, inattentive, oppositional, withdrawn/low energy, socially reticent) and situational adjustment (structured learning, peer interactions, and teacher interactions). Differences among profile types were found across child age, special needs status, and peer social and classroom learning outcomes. Patterns of overactive behavior with problems in socially-mediated learning situations predicted peer disruption. Patterns of withdrawn behavior, and problems in socially-mediated and teacher-directed learning situations predicted peer disconnection and poor learning outcomes. More resilient patterns were associated with older age, lower percentage of special needs, and higher readiness outcomes. Implications of the findings to extend prior research and to inform strategic early identification and mental health intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-191
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Contextual and developmental assessment
  • Head Start
  • Preschool emotional and behavioral adjustment
  • School readiness
  • Typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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