Prediction of children's early academic adjustment from their temperament: The moderating role of peer temperament

Sarah K. Johns, Carlos Valiente, Nancy Eisenberg, Tracy Spinrad, Maciel M. Hernández, Jody Southworth, Rebecca H. Berger, Marilyn Thompson, Kassondra M. Silva, Armando Pina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The goal of the study was to examine whether target children's temperamental negative emotional expressivity (NEE) and effortful control in the fall of kindergarten predicted academic adjustment in the spring and whether a classmate's NEE and effortful control moderated these relations. Target children's NEE and effortful control were measured in the fall via multiple methods, academic adjustment was measured via reading and math standardized tests in the spring, and observations of engagement in the classroom were conducted throughout the year. In the fall, teachers nominated a peer with whom each target child spent the most time and rated that peer's temperament. Target children with high effortful control had high reading and math achievement (ps = .04 and < .001, respectively), and children with low NEE increased in engagement during the year (p < .001). Peers' temperament did not have a direct relation to target children's academic adjustment. Peers' NEE, however, moderated the relation between target children's effortful control, as well as NEE, and changes in engagement (ps = .03 and .05, respectively). Further, peers' effortful control moderated the relations between target children's NEE and reading and changes in engagement (ps = .02 and .04, respectively). In each case, target children's temperament predicted the outcome in expected directions more strongly when peers had low NEE or high effortful control. Results are discussed in terms of how children's temperamental qualities relate to academic adjustment, and how the relation between NEE and changes in engagement, in particular, depends on peers' temperament.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-555
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Academic achievement
  • Peers
  • School adjustment
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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