Links between Developmental Change in Kindergarten Behaviors and Later Peer Associations

Linda S. Pagani, Anne-Julie Allard


Using secondary analysis of existing data from the Montreal Longitudinal Preschool Study (MLPS, Canada), we
examine the basic influence of early behavioral change upon later peer affiliation at the end of elementary school.
We also verify the reliable nature of the teacher-ratings, as a more cost-effective alternative to socio-metric
measures. Key child variables and their sources include kindergarten teacher-ratings of social skills and
classroom behaviors. Results revealed prospective associations between teacher-ratings of children’s general
ability to get along with peers and later peer affiliations. Results also revealed prospective associations between
early natural occurring change in child cognitive and socio-emotional behaviors during the kindergarten year and
later affiliations with popular, deviant, and rejected peers. These issues are above and beyond the influence of
family characteristics and baseline cognitive and behavioral characteristics. Our findings have promising
implications for contrived change resulting from interventions directed at behavioral change.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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