Tag Archive: Developmental

A Relational Aggression Intervention in Early Childhood (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an intervention targeting relational aggression for young children. The intervention was adapted from Ostrov and colleagues (2009) Early Childhood Friendship Program and implemented over a six week time period to reduce relationally aggressive behaviors and increase prosocial behavior in a Head Start classroom. The first week of the intervention included an educational theatre performance by a local group, RESPECT. The following weeks involved direct instruction using puppets, modeling, role-playing, and time to practice with positive reinforcement. Data were collected using teacher report at the individual and classroom wide levels as well as direct observation. Results indicated a significant decrease at the individual child level for relational aggression and depressed affect.

Person-environment congruence and the identity development of young adults: Converging two theories of career development (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

According to Erik Erikson 1950), adolescents and young adults are highly engaged in the process of identity development with intentions to avoid a state of diffusion and role confusion. Several researchers e.g., Bordin, 1990; Krumboltz, 1979; Lofquist & Dawis, 1991; Super, 1957) in the area of career development have attempted to explain how identity relates to the career selection process for young adults, all seeming to describe a similar construct, that of self identity. Perhaps the most popular theory of career development, Hollands 1959) theory, clarified the identity construct by describing Vocational Identity as the possession of a clear and stable picture of ones goals, interests, and talents. This study sought to clarify similarities between Eriksons theory of identity development and Hollands theory of vocational choice. To assess the relationship between identity formation and career development, 206 college students completed scales measuring ego identity formation, using Marcias 1966) empirical representation of Eriksons theory, Vocational Identity, measures of congruence, measures of well-being, and Career Indecision. Hollands Vocational Identity is first compared to Marcias four ego identity statuses Diffusion, Foreclosure, Moratorium, and Achieved), indicating a positive relationship to ego identity development. Second, person-environment P-E) congruence was compared to Eriksons/Marcias four identity statuses and Vocational Identity, revealing no relationship between the variables. However, strong relationships were apparent for P-E Congruence and well-being measures, including satisfaction with academic major, stability in academic major, and academic achievement. In further investigation of the identity formation process, identity variables were compared to measures of well-being. Using canonical correlation analysis, the first canonical function showed Vocational Identity as a strong indicator of well-being. Canonical correlation analysis was also used to compare measures of career development with Eriksons/Marcias ego identity development. Results revealed a strong statistical relationship with the first canonical root, indicating Vocational Identity and career decision making both appear to be strongly related to the Achieved identity status. These findings further support the theoretical connection between ego identity and career development process. Considering limitations of the study, implications for theory and practice and recommendations for future research are provided.

Understanding moral culture in Hong Kong secondary schools: Relationships among moral norm, moral culture, academic achievement motivation, and empathy (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

This thesis intends to address the feasibility of identifying and understanding moral norms and moral cultures in the secondary schools in Hong Kong. Their mutual relationships, as well as their relationships with academic achievement motivation, levels of empathy and selected covariates were also studied. Three Hong Kong secondary schools were selected for the study. Participants were 553 students from Grades 8, 10, and 12 at the three schools. The measures used in the study were the School Moral Atmosphere Questionnaire, the School Culture Scale, the School Achievement Motivation Rating Scale and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. The overall results show that the three secondary schools had significantly different moral norms and moral cultures. Interestingly, the academically elite school had the lowest moral norm among the three. Hence, positive relationship between academic competency and moral development could not be assumed. The study also shows that moral norms and moral cultures were distinct but related entities in a school community. Age and gender of the students had also played significant roles in their perception of these two moral entities in their schools. Students were also found to be better motivated when they enjoyed positive moral culture in their schools. Last but not least, students levels of empathy were found to have positive connections with their academic motivation, whereas girls and senior students were more empathic than boys and junior students.

Impact of maternal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation in the form of a functional food during pregnancy on infant neurodevelopment: A comparison of vision, memory, temperament and problem-solving abilities (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

The broad objective of this investigation was to assess the impact of a functional food containing docosahexaenoic acid 22:6n-3, DHA, 300mg/bar, 92 kcal) consumed during pregnancy on infant neurodevelopment. The design was a randomized, longitudinal, double blinded, placebo controlled trial. Intervention was initiated at 24 weeks of pregnancy. In study 1, infant visual acuity was measured at 4 and 6 months of age using the Acuity Card Procedure ACP). 30 women consumed the intervention n=16) or the placebo n=14). Visual acuity at 4 months of age was better in the DHA group P=0.018, 3.8+/-1.1 cycles/degree vs. 3.2+/-0.7 cycles/degree). At 6 months there were no differences between groups P=0.055, 6.0+/-1.3 cycles/degree, 2.6+/-0.3 vs. 5.7+/-1.8 cycles/degree). In study 2, the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence FTII) was administered to infants at 6 and 9 months of age. 36 women consumed the intervention n=18) or a placebo n=18). There were no significant differences at 6 or 9 months between groups for any of the FTII outcome variables or over time for the two assessments. In study 3, we investigated infant problem solving abilities. 29 women consumed the intervention n=14) or a placebo n=15). The Infant Planning Test was utilized to assess infants. A significant treatment effect was found for total intention score P=0.017, 8.01+/-2.35 vs. 6.67+/-3.0), total intentional solutions P=0.011, 2.5=1.29 vs. 1.67+/-1.5) and number of intentional solutions on both cloth P=0.008, 3.43+/-1.28 vs. 2.27+/-1.67) and cover P=0.004, 2.5+/-1.29 vs. 1.73+/-1.62) steps. In study 4, we investigated infant temperament. 38 women consumed the intervention n=20) or a placebo n=18). Infant temperament was assessed using the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire ICQ) at 6 months and the Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire RITQ) at 12 months of age. There were no differences between the DHA and placebo groups for ICQ or RITQ. A developmental advantage exists in infants related to DHA consumption during pregnancy vis-a-vis a functional food. Our results provide evidence that this advantage begins in early infancy and continues throughout the first 9 months.

Examining the effects of creative dance on social competence in children with autism: A hierarchical linear growth modeling approach (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

This study evaluates creative dance as a practical and beneficial resource for supporting Social competence in children with autism in schools. As an alternative to activities emphasizing skills that children with autism have difficulty with, such as verbal communication, creative dance capitalizes on areas of strength, potentially resulting in more opportunities to gain Social feedback vital for achieving Social competence. Challenges of research in this field include assessing individual gains related to group activities, and measuring gains exhibited over brief periods of time. To address these challenges, hierarchical linear growth modeling was applied in this analysis to compare data collected on students with autism participating in creative dance and “circle-time,” a typical classroom activity with similar social objectives. The three main findings of this analysis are: 1) verbal students with autism initially demonstrated a higher level of social competence in the circle-time condition, but improved at a slightly faster rate in the creative dance condition on average, 2) nonverbal students performed similarly in each condition at first, but also improved at a faster rate in the dance condition on average, and 3) the performance gap in social competence between verbal and nonverbal students with autism is smaller in the creative dance condition than in the circle-time condition across measurement occasions. The latter finding may be especially relevant in the context of inclusive education, indicating not only that creative dance is especially beneficial to nonverbal students with autism, but also that creative dance may be an activity in which students with language impairments perform more similarly to their non-disabled peers.

A mixed-methods study of perceived academic autonomy in Japanese students and its relations to their motivation (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

Numerous studies link intrinsic motivation to positive outcomes such as increased cognitive engagement, task persistence, achievement, and creativity Ryan & Deci, 2000a). In Self-Determination Theory SDT), Ryan and Deci 2002) propose that high autonomy, or perceiving that one is the origin of ones own behavior, is a necessary component of high intrinsic motivation. Significantly, in SDT, this relation is claimed to be universal. Studies in Western cultures show that when teachers support students autonomy, the students show higher intrinsic motivation and achievement Reeve, 2002). This study investigated academic autonomy in Japanese children, as little work has been done in different cultures to test the claim that autonomy is universal. Some research contradicts the universality notion by suggesting that in Japan autonomy may not be an important factor in students motivation e.g., Markus & Kitayama, 1991). The current study uses a mixed-methods design to address this issue. Initially, interviews were conducted with 30 5th and 6 th grade Japanese students to address the validity of the Self-Regulation Questionnaire-Academic Domain SRQ-A; Ryan & Connell, 1989), a frequently used measure of perceived autonomy that asks students why they do academic activities. Japanese students mentioned several reasons that were not on the SRQ-A. Therefore, new items were developed to create the Japanese SRQ-A J-SRQ-A). Next, 179 Japanese 5 th and 6th grade students completed the SRQ-A and 208 completed the J-SRQ-A. Exploratory factor analyses showed that the degree of autonomy associated with reasons for certain academic behaviors may be different for Japanese than western students, raising questions about the universality of autonomy. Confirmatory factor analyses showed that a respecified model using the J-SRQ-A provided the best model fit when compared to models using the original SRQ-A, providing further evidence that the structure of autonomy is not universal. Correlations among scales representing differing levels of autonomy were similar to those found in previous research. Positive correlations between autonomy and intrinsic motivation were similar in strength to those in previous research, indicating some support for the SDT claim that autonomys benefits are universal.

Forgiveness and implicit theories in early adolescents (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to test implicit theory change as a way to help young adolescents forgive a peer who hurt them deeply. Participants were 163 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children aged 957), 1056), and 1148) with 2 withdrawn. Participants were recruited from community elementary and middle schools in a medium-sized Midwestern city and from area YMCA summer day camps. Implicit theories were assessed by the Implicit Theory Questionnaire Erdley & Dweck, 1993), and levels of forgiveness and expectations to be hurt again were measured by the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children EFI-C; Enright, 1993) and the Offense Expectation Scale for Children and Adolescents Beth) in Study 1. Results showed that those holding an incremental theory of attribution are more forgiving than those holding an entity view. Overall feelings of vulnerability to future hurt were higher for entity theorists. Being thought of as weak was a major concern to all of the children in this study. Study 2 measured the impact an intervention designed to change ones implicit theory from entity toward an incremental view would have on levels of forgiveness, expectations of future hurt, and levels of anger measure by the Beck Anger Inventory for Youth BANI-Y). Participants were 54 of the 163 from Study 1 who subscribed to an entity theory, randomly assigned to an experimental n = 27) and a control n = 27) group. IT was expected that young adolescents would become more forgiving and less worried about future hurt as their implicit theories changed. Analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between the experimental and control groups in favor of the intervention, demonstrated by an increase in forgiveness for the experimental group at the immediate post-test and at the follow-up post-test, and a decrease in the concern for future hurt at the follow-up post-test.

Ethnic differences in the relationship between self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and academic achievement for first-year college students (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

First-year African American and European American college students were surveyed to ascertain if there were ethnic differences in how their Social cognitive beliefs (self-efficacy and outcome expectations) influenced their academic achievement. Participants completed paper and pencil surveys in groups of 30 or fewer students. Additional information was collected from the University registrar. Higher levels of self-efficacy were related to better academic achievement for both ethnic groups. However, negative outcome expectations were related to better academic achievement for African Americans, whereas there was no relationship for European Americans. This unexpected relationship for African Americans could not be explained by increased study time, more interaction with faculty, or a lower value of education. Potential explanations for the relationship between outcome expectations and academic achievement for African Americans are discussed and the implications for interventions are addressed.

A psychogenetic analysis of Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ emergent writing: A developmental trajectory toward the phonetization of speech (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

This study explored the developmental writing progressions of 55 Spanish-speaking 4-year-old children who participated in an emergent literacy intervention at a nonprofit child care center in downtown Los Angeles over an 8-month period. As part of the emergent literacy program, a writing center was available and children participated in a variety of writing activities, such as journal writing, group story writing, dictation, labeling, and letter writing. The purpose of the study was to examine a) the early writing conceptualizations of 4-year-old Spanish-speaking preschool children immersed in a literacy-rich environment, b) the nature of their name-writing development, and c) the relationship between this name-writing development and the childrens writing as a representational system. The childrens written language conceptualizations were investigated through an analysis of Piagetian-inspired clinical interviews conducted during the 2000-2001 school year. The childrens written language conceptualizations were analyzed according to Ferreiro and Teberoskys hierarchical writing levels as described in their classic study Literacy Before Schooling. The present study investigated Latino pre-school childrens written language interpretations longitudinally while they received early literacy instruction in reading and writing.

The development of print knowledge (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

The present thesis examined the early development of print knowledge. Experiment 1 explored the development of childrens early understanding of visual and orthographic aspects of print and how this is related to early reading acquisition. Children, ages 48 to 83 months, completed standardized measures of phonological awareness and early reading skills. They also completed experimental tasks that tapped their understanding of what constitutes “readable” print. The parents of participants completed a questionnaire regarding their childrens home literacy experiences. The data showed systematic development in childrens understanding of print conventions and English orthography. Regression analyses indicated that print knowledge was related to early reading skill, even after accounting for variance due to age and phonological awareness. Furthermore, parents ratings of the extent of their childrens involvement in activities that led to practice in reading and writing most consistently predicted the development of emerging literacy skills, including understanding of the conventions of the English writing system. Experiments 2 and 3 explored ways in which childrens print knowledge may be improved. Experiment 2 illustrated that a word search game, which draws childrens attention to the print and requires children to examine the details of print, improves childrens understanding of print, whereas the shared reading does not. The acquisition of print knowledge was determined by the amount of print exposure. Specific experience with what constitutes readable print is the key factor that influences what children have learned. Experiment 3 suggests that drawing childrens attention to the print alone during shared reading did not facilitate childrens learning of print conventions. To help children learn the important aspects of print, further guidance such as providing exemplars of acceptable and unacceptable print is needed. Further, learning print concepts also helps children learn letter names.