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ERIC Number: EJ1082701
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
A Multilevel View of Predictors of Children's Perceptions of School Interpersonal Climate
Berg, Juliette K.; Aber, J. Lawrence
Journal of Educational Psychology, v107 n4 p1150-1170 Nov 2015
Increasing attention is being given to the role of a positive school interpersonal climate in children's school functioning and social-emotional development. Children's perceptions are commonly used to measure the interpersonal school climate, but the individual and contextual characteristics that contribute to variation in children's perceptions remain unclear. This study examines the direct and interactive effects of multiple individual child characteristics and school-level interpersonal climate on elementary schoolchildren's perceptions of negative interpersonal climate and feeling afraid at school. Demographic, social-cognitive, behavioral, and academic characteristics are examined at the individual level. School context variables capturing interpersonal climate include school-level aggregated children's perceptions of negative climate and teacher perceptions of student respect, safety and teacher affiliation. Data come from 4,016 4th graders from 83 public elementary schools. At the child level, results indicate that children's empathy, victimization, and academic competence explained significant variation in at least 1 of the 2 outcomes in the expected direction. Girls also reported feeling more afraid. The associations for Black children between victimization and climate and behavioral problems and climate were weaker. For Hispanic children, the association was weaker between academic competence and feeling afraid and stronger between engagement and feeling afraid. At the school level, aggregated children's perceptions of climate were most strongly associated with both outcomes. Teacher affiliation and teacher-rated student respect-safety moderated the association between engagement and children's perceptions of negative interpersonal climate. These interactions are discussed in relation to existing theory and research, as are implications for policy and future research.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Behavior Assessment System for Children
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL0941014