Research Findings: This study examines whether the development of social skills during childhood serves as a mechanism through which temperamental anger and positive reactivity in toddlerhood influence children’s academic competence during preadolescence (N = 406). Temperamental anger at age 2 was negatively associated with children’s social skills at age 7; in turn, children’s social skills at age 7 were positively associated with teacher reports of academic performance and negatively associated with child and teacher reports of school problems at age 10. All 3 indirect effects were significant, which suggests that children’s social skills at age 7 is one mechanism through which temperamental anger at age 2 is associated with age 10 child- and teacher-reported school problems. Temperamental positive reactivity was not associated with children’s social skills or academic competence. Practice or Policy: Results provide support for early entry points to teach toddlers, especially those high in anger reactivity, the skills to engage in socially appropriate interactions with classmates and teachers, which may lessen subsequent academic challenges.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition (MH 55625); a NIMH FIRST Award (MH 55584) to Susan D. Calkins; and a NIMH grant (MH 58144) awarded to Susan D. Calkins, Susan P. Keane, and Marion O’Brien.