Temperament, Affect, and Behavior in Schools (TABS)

Welcome

Welcome to the Temperament, Affect, and Behavior in Schools (TABS) Lab.

Housed in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Sciences, TABS is an interdisciplinary lab focused on children’s and adolescents’ emotional and behavioral well being in the school context.

Temperament is an individual’s emotion, activity, and attention in response to the environment; it is biologically based, yet shaped by experience and development. Thus, temperament contributes to an individual’s affect and behavior. Growing evidence points to the role temperament has in children’s academic and social success in preschool and elementary grades. Our lab members are currently conducting research to further uncover the role of specific temperament traits in children’s school outcomes and understand how elements of classrooms (such as teacher-child relationships) moderate and mediate between children’s temperament and their school success. Click here for our recent publications in this area.

Affect and behavior are also influenced by mental health. Millions of children in school face mental health challenges (20% of youth ages 13-18 years; www.nami.org), yet teachers and school administrators are often underprepared to support them. In many cases, school is the best place for a child to receive mental health services, owing to social stigma, lack of family resources, or distance from other options, but there may be few or no school personnel with adequate training to help with more significant issues. This is particularly true in rural areas, but also occurs in cities and suburbs. Click here to see our current projects in this area.

The importance of the school context can not be overstated – starting at about age 5, children and adolescents spend approximately 7-8 hours per day in school. In addition to being a space for academic development, the elementary classroom is where children develop their first important relationship with an adult outside of the family and learn to negotiate the complexities of peer interactions. Teachers play a critical role in all facets of children’s early school experiences, as they provide a model for social interactions and set the tone of the classroom, as well as influence each child individually via one-on-one relationships. Click here to see our current projects in this area.