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Does gender moderate the relations between externalizing behavior and key emergent literacy abilities?: Evidence from a longitudinal study

Objective: There is a significant negative relation between externalizing behavior and emergent literacy skills among preschool children. Method: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of gender on the predictive relation of externalizing behavior and emergent literacy in a group of 178 preschool children (mean age = 48.50 months, SD = 3.66; 48% boys). Results: Externalizing behaviors predicted emergent literacy over time. Distinct patterns of predictive associations dependent on gender were found. Girls with higher levels of externalizing behaviors experienced less change in their vocabulary skills compared with the vocabulary change shown by girls with lower levels of these problem behaviors. Conclusion: The results suggest that early identification programs that include externalizing behavior problems and their relation with emergent literacy development should account for potential gender differences. A theoretical framework in which girls with behavior problems receive less opportunity for vocabulary acquisition is presented. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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