Social and emotional behavioral profiles in kindergarten: A population-based latent profile analysis of links to socio-educational characteristics and later achievement.

Relatively little attention has been given to understanding different social and emotional behavior (SEB) profiles among students and their links to important educational outcomes. We applied latent profile analysis to identify SEB profiles among kindergarten students based on five SEBs: cooperative, socially responsible, helpful, anxious, and aggressive-disruptive behavior. In Study 1, we identified SEB profiles among the population of students who attended kindergarten in New South Wales (NSW; Australia’s most populous state comprising Australia’s largest education jurisdictions), Australia in 2012 (N = 100,776). We also examined whether profile membership was differentially associated with students’ socioeducational characteristics (gender, age group, language background, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and learning disability status). Results revealed four different SEB profiles: social-emotional prosocial (SE-Prosocial), SE-Anxious, SE-Aggressive, and SE-Vulnerable groups. Profile membership was associated with the socioeducational characteristics in different ways (e.g., female and older students tended to be in the SE-Prosocial profile). In Study 2, we undertook replication with a different sample of children who attended kindergarten in 2009 in NSW (n = 52,661). We also examined whether the SEB profiles were associated with academic achievement in Grades 3 and 5 using standardized test scores. Results revealed the same four profiles as Study 1 and similarities in how profile membership was associated with the socioeducational characteristics. Moreover, profiles were associated with significantly different levels of achievement in Grades 3 and 5—highest for the SE-Prosocial and lowest for the SE-Vulnerable profiles. Together, the findings have implications for healthy student development and academic intervention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)