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ERIC Number: ED558273
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 191
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3038-2088-5
The Longitudinal Effect of Traumatic Stress and Attachment Difficulties on Academic Achievement for Young Children
Wolfgang, Jeff Drayton
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
National educational achievement statistics show that academic underachievement is a significant problem for all students in the United States and for culturally diverse students in particular. The relationship of attachment and its interaction with traumatic stress has been proposed as an alternative explanation for the persistent underachievement found among marginalized children. This study explored the relationship between early childhood mental health and development and how this might impact children's academic achievement longitudinally using an ecosystemic view. Traumatic stress theory was used to explore the complexity of students' experiences in schools. Specifically, the researcher explored how the relationship between traumatic stress symptoms and difficult attachment symptoms affect the growth trajectory of reading and mathematics achievement for children in kindergarten through fifth grade (n = 8,368) while controlling for gender, culture, and socioeconomic status. This quantitative study used the national database Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten 1998 cohort (ECLS-K) collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in order to design a latent growth curve model that incorporated traumatic stress symptoms and difficult attachment symptoms and their effects on the growth trajectory. The results of this study indicated that both traumatic stress symptoms and difficult attachment symptoms predicted significantly lower initial scores in reading and mathematics as well as lower growth trends over time. The results of this study are significant because they suggest that interactive environmental factors, such as traumatic experiences and attachments issues impact academic achievement for young children over time. Recommendations for future research include intervention studies that investigate ways to mediate the effects of traumatic stress and attachment issues during the early childhood years. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey