Considering the Classroom: A Look into the Social Context of Preschoolers Who Display Disruptive Behaviors

Yoder, Michelle, Clinical Psychology - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Williford, Amanda, CU-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Downer, Jason, CU-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Vitiello, Ginny, CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia
Blodgett, Julia, University of Virginia

The three studies presented within this dissertation share the aim of better understanding the classroom social experiences of preschoolers who display disruptive behaviors. As young children who display hyperactivity, inattention, and/or oppositionality are at an elevated risk for interpersonal challenges, it is critical to examine factors that contribute to social engagement for this subsample in order to understand how to best promote their social development. Guided by the notion that preschoolers’ development occurs within a broader classroom context, the current studies add to existing literature pertaining to the role of the teacher in fostering positive relational experiences for children whose behaviors place them at risk for social challenges. Specifically, studies explore 1) how teachers perceive preschoolers’ display of disruptive behavior in the classroom and 2) the nature of and contributing factors associated with peer engagement for preschoolers who display hyperactivity, inattention, and/or oppositionality. Results highlight the critical role of the teacher in creating a classroom environment that best situates preschoolers for social success, and can be used to inform teacher training and intervention efforts to better meet the individual needs of preschoolers who display disruptive behaviors.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Preschool, Disruptive behavior, Early childhood education, Social-emotional development, Social interactions, Teacher education

Citation for manuscript 1: Yoder, M. L., & Williford, A. P. (2019). Teacher perception of preschool disruptive behavior: Prevalence and contributing factors. Early Education and Development, 30(7), 835-853. doi:10.1080/10409289.2019.1594531

Citation for manuscript 2: Yoder, M. L., Williford, A. P., & Vitiello, V. E. (2019). Observed quality of classroom peer engagement in a sample of preschoolers displaying disruptive behaviors. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 47, 206-217. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.12.011

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