Profiles of social competence among low-income African American preschool children

Julia L. Mendez, John Fantuzzo, Dante Cicchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Relations between children's personal attributes and peer play competence were investigated in a sample of 141 African American preschool children who participated in Head Start. Variable-oriented analyses confirmed that dispositions of temperament, emotion regulation, autonomy, and language were related to children's peer play competence in the classroom. Person-oriented analyses revealed distinctive profiles of personal attributes linked to adaptive preschool social functioning. A small group of resilient children whose profile was characterized by highly adaptable temperament, ability to approach new situations, and above average vocabulary development evidenced the greatest social competence with peers. Children who were disruptive with peers were equally divided between two profiles characterized by inattention and activity, but with differential performance on vocabulary tasks. A profile containing calm, reticent children was the group least likely to engage in disruptive peer play. Inspection of the six profiles revealed the within-group variability for this economically disadvantaged sample and illustrated the differential importance of temperament, regulation, and language constructs. Findings from the profile analyses and relations with peer competence inform the study of resilience in social development for urban African American children who participate in early intervention preschool programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1085-1100
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Profiles of social competence among low-income African American preschool children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this