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Stability of Teacher Rated Children's Behaviour Problems During the First Year at School. Relations to Children's Executive Functioning and Peer Rated.

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Presentation on theme: "Stability of Teacher Rated Children's Behaviour Problems During the First Year at School. Relations to Children's Executive Functioning and Peer Rated."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stability of Teacher Rated Children's Behaviour Problems During the First Year at School. Relations to Children's Executive Functioning and Peer Rated Aggressiveness. Tropp, K., Kikas, E., Männamaa, M. University of Tartu Presentation in Prague 2007

2 WHY? Several problem areas, especially children's aggressive behaviour and problems with attention and hyperactivity are important topics in Estonian education field. Numerous environmental and personal aspects facilitate children's behaviour problems. For example poor planning abilities are shown to be of importance. Teacher-ratings are widely used in childrens problem behavior research. Teachers work with behaviour problem children daily, their ability to observe and discriminate between problems is of importance.

3 In this paper… … the stability of teacher ratings of children's aggressiveness, attention problems and hyperactivity during the first year at school was assessed, … concordance with peer rated aggression and …relations to children's executive functioning were investigated.

4 Aggressive behaviour - any behaviour directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate intent to cause harm (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). Aggressive behavior can be differentiated according to its manifestations, i.e., physical verbal Indirect (Björkqvist, Österman & Kaukiainen, 1992; Lagerspetz, Björkqvist & Peltonen, 1988), social (Galen & Underwood, 1997), or relational (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995; Crick, Bigbee, Howes, 1996).

5 Attention deficit – child has difficulties in concentrating, staying on task, is absent-minded and needs frequent assistance. Hyperactivity – child is motorically restless, constantly moving, loud and noisy. ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Executive functioning: a multidimensional behavioural concept covering a range of assumed higher order cortical functions, such as goal-directed behaviour, attentional control, temporal organization, and planning (e.g. Lehto, Juujärvi, Kooistra, and Pulkkinen, 2003).

6 Method Participants: 239 7-8 year old children (114 boys and 125 girls), and their class teachers (17) from 10 different schools in Estonia. Measures: Teacher Reports of Children's aggressive behaviour, attention problems and hyperactivity were collected twice – in the beginning of the first grade, and 6 months later, Reliability of subscales ranged from.80 to.90. Three scales from the Peer Estimated Conflict Behaviour Questionnaire (PECOBE); (Björkqvist & Österman, 1998) Executive Functioning Task (Hedgehog task), a original test by one of the authors of present paper (Männamaa, 2006; α =.68).

7 Executive Functioning Task (Hedgehog task), Männamaa, 2006


9 Results Figure 1. Comparison of means of teacher ratings collected at two assessment times.

10 Figure 2. Problem behavior ratings in children with low, medium, and high executive functioning

11 Results: Results: Profiles Employing the person-oriented approach, we expected certain profiles of problem behavior ratings to emerge at both times, with visible sex differences. With LICUR procedure suggested by Bergman, Magnusson & El- Khouri (2003), the individual stability of problem behavior ratings was studied. Clusters characterized by high or very high levels of all ratings, all medium or low levels, and several profiles with one or some problem areas were revealed (see Figure 2). A partial structural stability (e.g., Bergman et al., 2003) was found between rating profiles at two time points. There were significantly less boys with low and medium profile groups, and more in high problem profiles

12 Figure 3. Problem profiles at two assessment points. Structural stability in teacher ratings. ASED =.007 ASED =.039 ASED =.088 ASED =.680 ASED =.018

13 Figure 4. Problem profiles at two assessment points. Individual stability in teacher ratings. * - p <.01, ** - p <.001, *** - p <.0001 n=55*** n=34*** n=9** n=11* n=5* n=9*** n=5** n=14***

14 Figure 5. Executive functioning in children with typical problem profile changes.

15 Conclusions Some changes can be found in teacher ratings of childrens problem behaviour, especially in groups of higher problem ratings. During the 1st Grade, teachers get to know their students better and also intervene childrens problems. Teacher and peer ratings were strongly correlated, 1st Grade children are fairly well capable of assessing their peers problem behavior. Childrens poor executive functioning is related to teacher rated attention problems, but not to aggression, or hyperactivity. Better executive functioning is related to unchangeably lesser behaviour problems.

16 References: Bergman, L. R., Magnusson, D. & El Khouri, B. M. (2003). Studyng Individual Development in an Interindividual Context. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Björkqvist, K., Österman, K. (1998). Scales for Research on Interpersonal relations. Åbo Akademi University, Department of Social Sciences, Vasa, Finland. Seguin, J. R., & Zelazo, P. D. (2004). Executive Function in Early Physical Aggression. In: R. E. Tremblay, W. W. Hartup, & J. Archer (Eds.) Developmental Origins of Aggression. New York, London: The Guilford Press. Thorell, L. & Wahlstedt, C. (2006). Executive Functioning Deficits in Relation to Symptoms of ADHD and/or ODD in Preschool Children. Infant and Child Development, 15, 503-518.

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