Date of Award

6-30-2016

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kellah Edens

Abstract

This study investigates the home and classroom environments of a subsample of students (n=16) selected from a participant group of 259 low income students within 4 urban schools in the southeast. The subsample consisted of students who, according to a direct performance assessment, had higher behavioral self-regulation skills than their peers yet were reported by teachers as exhibiting undesirable classroom behavior. Examined as potential contributors to the poor classroom behavior of the students were home environment characteristics related to stress and child-parent relationships and classroom environment characteristics which included classroom quality and presence of chaos. Results indicated that children within the subsample experienced stress in their home environment and although caregivers reported close relationships with their children, some also reported relational conflict. In terms of classroom environments, classroom quality ranged from moderate to low, with most teachers reporting the presence of chaos within their classrooms. To glean more information, three students from the subsample were identified for a collective case study. Case study analyses conducted on observational notes and teacher interviews revealed the following themes regarding student classroom behavior: lack of motivation, poor peer relations, inability to control emotions, seeking attention, and instability at home. Discussion focuses on the complex interplay of ecological factors that have the potential to affect child behavior in the classroom and implications of ecological complexity for teachers and parents.

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Psychology Commons

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