Children's interpersonal skills and school-based relationships: Links to school adjustment in early and middle childhood

Becky Kochenderfer-Ladd, Gary W. Ladd, Stephanie A. Thibault

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In this chapter, the authors take the position that children's interpersonal skills and participation in school-based relationships are important precursors of their school adjustment. They contend that school adjustment encompasses children's: attitudes and perceptions of school and classroom environments, psychological and emotional well-being while in school, level of participation in classroom activities, and academic achievement. The authors consider evidence that links specific child characteristics with children's school relationships and adjustment. Three distinct behavioral and emotional regulatory characteristics are considered: prosocial behaviors, sociability, and emotional self-regulation. The distinctions drawn among classroom relationships have been supported by evidence indicating that different relationships contribute distinctly to children's school adjustment. The authors consider premises and evidence for three types of child and environment models-additive, moderator, and mediator models. Early childhood may be a sensitive period for social development, and certain types of peer experiences during this stage have lasting effects on children's behavior or adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781119679028
StatePublished - Mar 18 2022


  • Children's school adjustment
  • Classroom environments
  • Early childhood
  • Environment models
  • School-based relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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