Abigail Lou Stover
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An association between academic incompetence and behavior problems exists. There are two frameworks to explain this association: the adjustment erosion and academic incompetence hypotheses (Van der Ende et al., 2016). These hypotheses relate to the directionality of the association between academic incompetence and behavior problems. The adjustment erosion hypothesis predicts that internalizing or externalizing problems lead to academic problems, whereas the academic incompetence hypothesis predicts that academic problems lead to internalizing or externalizing problems (Van der Ende et al., 2016). This study examines links between externalizing problems, internalizing problems, and academic performance, looking at bidirectional pathways between these variables, while controlling for confounding family background variables. This study uses previously collected longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample. Analyses included between 1,117 and 1,258 participating families. Reading and math achievement from children ages 5 to 14 were measured using the Peabody Individual Achievement Tests. Externalizing and internalizing behaviors were measured using the Behavior Problem Index completed by mothers during the same age range. Multiple regression analyses were used to test whether externalizing and internalizing problems at ages 5/6 predicted math and reading abilities at ages 13/14, and whether math and reading abilities at ages 5/6 predicted internalizing and externalizing problems at ages 13/14. Analyses controlled for maternal IQ, delinquency, highest grade, age at childbirth, family income, biological sex of the child, and the age 5/6 value of the age 13/14 dependent variable. Externalizing and internalizing problems in early childhood were found to significantly predict math and reading achievement at age 13/14. Math and reading achievement at age 5/6 were found to significantly predict externalizing and internalizing problems at age 13/14. Support was found for the adjustment erosion and academic incompetence hypotheses. These findings suggest that addressing academic deficits could aid later adjustment and addressing adjustment problems could improve academic performance.
Jackson A. Goodnight
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
"Bidirectional associations between adjustment and academic achievement: Testing the adjustment erosion and academic incompetence hypotheses" (2022). Stander Symposium Projects. 2591.