Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of School Psychology 51:6 (2013), pp. 701–716; doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2013.08.002


Copyright © 2013 Society for the Study of School Psychology; published by Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Children’s interactions with peers in early childhood have been consistently linked to their academic and social outcomes. Although both child and classroom characteristics have been implicated as contributors to children’s success, there has been scant research linking child temperament, teacher–child relationship quality, and peer interactions in the same study. The purpose of this study is to examine children’s early temperament, rated at preschool age, as a predictor of interactions with peers (i.e., aggression, relational aggression, victimization, and prosociality) in third grade while considering teacher–child relationship quality in kindergarten through second grades as a moderator and mediator of this association. The sample (N = 1364) was drawn from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Results from structural equation models indicated that teacher–child conflict in early elementary grades mediated links between children’s temperament and later peer interactions. Findings underscore the importance of considering children’s temperament traits and teacher–child relationship quality when examining the mechanisms of the development of peer interactions.