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Developmental Links Between Children’s Working Memory and their Social Relations with Teachers and Peers in the Early School Years

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      Abstract

      This study assessed the developmental links between children’s working memory development and their relations with teachers and peers across 2 years of kindergarten and early elementary school. Kindergarten and first grade children, N = 1109, 50 % boys, were followed across 2 school-years. Children were assessed across 3 waves, in the fall and spring of the first school-year (within school-year), and finally in the spring of the second school-year. Working memory was assessed using a visuo-spatial working memory task. The developmental links between working memory and child-reported teacher-child relationship quality (warmth and conflict) and peer-nominated likeability and friendedness were assessed using autoregressive cross-lagged models. Lower working memory scores were related to increases in teacher-child conflict and decreases in teacher-child warmth one school-year later, in addition to decreases in likeability by peers within the same school-year. Conversely, teacher-child conflict was negatively associated with the development of working memory across the studied period. Path estimates between working memory and social relational factors were similar for boys and girls. Findings show developmental links between working memory and social-relational factors and vice versa. These results suggest that children’s working memory development can be fostered through pro-social relations with teachers in early elementary school children.

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Developmental Psychology and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
            Contributors
            +31205989921 , A.de.Wilde@vu.nl
            Journal
            J Abnorm Child Psychol
            J Abnorm Child Psychol
            Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
            Springer US (New York )
            0091-0627
            1573-2835
            30 July 2015
            30 July 2015
            2016
            : 44
            : 19-30
            26219261 4715126 53 10.1007/s10802-015-0053-4
            © The Author(s) 2015

            Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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            © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

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