As prevention and early intervention opportunities for young children at risk of emotional disturbance (ED) increase, questions regarding the effectiveness of these programs for specific subpopulations of children have emerged. To date, few investigators have examined young children entering early school prevention/intervention programs to determine if clear subpopulations can be identified, and if so, which characteristics are most distinguishing. This study examined the risk factors of 140 kindergarten and first-grade students, identified by teachers as at risk of ED, to determine if distinct profiles exist. Cluster analysis procedures using teacher, child, and parent reports of family, academic, and social/emotional data revealed five distinct clusters: Parent nominated (n = 24), Elevated risks (n = 43), Primarily behavior (n = 25), Primarily academic (n = 27), and False positives (n = 21). Validation techniques revealed that the five clusters were distinguished by clear profiles, which differed across level of severity (i.e., high or low levels of risk per domain) and primary focus of risk (i.e., academic, social/emotional, or familial). Similarities and differences across cluster groups, possible implications for targeted prevention or early intervention programs, study limitations, and directions for future research are presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology