Family environment as a predictor of behavioral competencies in the early elementary years

Wendy Oakes, Kathleen Lynne Lane, Ashley E. Magrane, Holly Mariah Menzies, Joseph Wehby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this paper we examined perceptions of family environment of 84 kindergarten (n =34), first- (n = 18), and second-grade (n = 32) students identified with behaviorchallenges according to teacher-completed systematic screening tools. First, we examinedthe degree to which these 58 boys and 26 girls varied in their behavior problems andsocial skills from their teachers' perspectives. Results indicated teachers rated girls withhigher levels of problem behaviors than boys, although there were no differences insocial skills for boys and girls. Second, we examined the degree to which these children'sfamily environments vary for boys and girls in dimensions such as relationship (cohesion,expressiveness, conflict), personal growth (independence, achievement orientation,intellectual-cultural orientation, active-recreational orientation, moral-religious emphasis)and system maintenance (organization and control) as measured by the FamilyEnvironment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 2002). Results indicated no differences were reported for families in this sample. Finally, we examined the relation between familyenvironment and socio-behavioral performance. For boys, the level of Cohesion predictedproblem behavior and the level of Cohesion and Intellectual-Cultural Orientationpredicted social skills. For girls, there were no significant family characteristicspredictive of problem behaviors; however, families with an Active-RecreationalOrientation and Intellectual-Cultural Orientation predicted social skills. Educationalimplications for supporting home-school partnerships for young students upon initialschool entry are presented. Limitations and future directions for future inquiry areoffered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKindergartens
Subtitle of host publicationTeaching Methods, Expectations and Current Challenges
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781624177866
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Emotional or behavioral disorders
  • Families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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