Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Educational Psychology / Research

First Advisor

Margaret Gredler

Second Advisor

Christine A DiStefano

Abstract

The goal of the current study was to develop a two level, hierarchical typology of child school behavior (ages 6 -11) using the norming data for the revised Behavioral Assessment System for Children Teacher Rating - Child form (BASC-2 TRS-C Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004). To obtain the two tiers of this classification system, two multivariate classification procedures were employed: latent class cluster analysis (LCCA) and cluster analysis (CA). The first tier of the resulting classification system consited of latent classess, whereas the second tier was represented by the clusters identified within each latent class. Distinct clusters and latent classes of child school behavior were hypothesized to underlie the data based on the findings of previous research with the original and the revised BASC TRS-C norming data (DiStefano & Kamphaus, 2006; DiStefano, Kamphaus & Mîndrilă, 2010).

CA and LCCA were first conducted with the entire data set. The individuals' group memberships in the two classification systems were compared to determine whether the two classification procedures provided convergent results, and to illustrate the distribution of clusters across latent classes. To obtain a hierarchical classification system by identifying the clusters subordinated to each latent class, the BASC-2 TRS-C sample was divided into subsamples based on individuals' latent class membership, and CA was conducted separately with each subsample. Individuals' cluster memberships within the entire sample and within latent classes were compared to determine the proportion of students located in analogous clusters and the proportion of students whose cluster membership changed. The resulting hierarchical typology includes three latent classes that describe three different levels of adaptation to the school environment: (a) Adequate Adjustment (AA), (b) Mild Adjustment Difficulties (MAD), and (c) Functionally Impaired Adjustment (FIA). The clusters identified within each latent class represent the second tier of the classification system. The AA latent class included the (a) Well-Adapted, (b) Average, and (c) Worry clusters. The clusters identified within the MAD latent class were: (a) Academic Problems, (b) Physical Complaints, (c) Disruptive Behavior Problems, and (d) Internalizing Problems. Finally, the FIA latent class comprised the (a) Clinical Problems - External and (b) Clinical Problems - Internal clusters. This hierarchical typology identifies the behavioral profiles that are most frequently encountered in the population of U.S. children, and includes a wide spectrum of behavioral types (both adaptive and maladaptive). Each behavioral profile is defined in terms of its most prominent characteristics and degree of adaptability to the school environment. Furthermore, the proposed classification system facilitates the identification of students who have difficulties adjusting to the school environment and may need targeted intervention.

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