The Relationship between Family Expressiveness, Children's Social Skills, and Academic Achievement
Kamps, Lauren E.
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Family Expressivity has been shown to affect children behaviorally, socially, .and psychologically (Halberstadt, 1983; Halberstadt, 1986; Low~ Stocker, 2005; Ramsden & Hubbard, 2002; Wong, McElwain, & Halberstadt, 2009). No studies however have connected · Family Expressivity to children's performance in school. The present study attempted to address this gap in the literature and investigated the relationship between Family Expressivity, children's social skills, and children's academic achievement..There were 123 children, 64% male, (ages 32 to 65 months) and their mothers who participated in the study. At the beginning of the school year children's social skills were assessed, by their teachers, through the use of the Social Skills Improvement System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008). Additionally, children's achievement in school was measured using the Letter-Word Identification section from the reading subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001). The children's mothers completed the short form of the Family Expressiveness Questionnaire (Halberstadt, Cassidy, Stifter, Parke, & Fox, 1995), in order to address the frequency with which positive and negative emotions were expressed within their family. The relationships between the three constructs were investigated through the use of the causal steps approach. Results revealed a significant relationship between children's social skills and their achievement in school. There was no significant relationship found between either negative or positive Family Expressivity and children's social skills. In addition, results revealed that children's social skills are not a mediator between Family Expressivity and children's achievement in school. Findings are discussed in the context of past research and early school screening programs.