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Child Dev. 1991 Jun;62(3):583-99.

A two-year longitudinal study of stressful life events, social support, and social problem-solving skills: contributions to children's behavioral and academic adjustment.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, OH 43403.


We investigated the contributions of stressful life events and resources (social support and social problem-solving skills) to predicting changes in children's adjustment. At Time 1, 361 third through fifth graders completed measures of social support and social problem-solving skills. Their parents completed a stressful life events scale and a child behavior rating measure. The children's teachers provided ratings of behavioral and academic adjustment. 2-year follow-up data (Time 2) were obtained for approximately half of the sample on the same measures. Time 1 stressful life events and resources showed some significant but modest zero-order correlations with the Time 2 adjustment indices. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed prospective effects for Time 1 social support on later teacher-rated competencies and grade-point average. In addition, increases over time in social support and social problem-solving skills (a composite score) were significantly related to improvement in behavioral and academic adjustment, whereas stressful life events were not predictive of adjustment.

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