4 years ago

Positive Attributes Buffer the Negative Associations Between Low Intelligence and High Psychopathology With Educational Outcomes

This study examines the extent to which children’s positive attributes are distinct from psychopathology. We also investigate whether positive attributes change or “buffer” the impact of low intelligence and high psychopathology on negative educational outcomes. Method In a community sample of 2,240 children (6–14 years of age), we investigated associations among positive attributes, psychopathology, intelligence, and negative educational outcomes. Negative educational outcomes were operationalized as learning problems and poor academic performance. We tested the discriminant validity of psychopathology versus positive attributes using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and propensity score matching analysis (PSM), and used generalized estimating equations (GEE) models to test main effects and interactions among predictors of educational outcomes. Results According to both CFA and PSM, positive attributes and psychiatric symptoms were distinct constructs. Positive attributes were associated with lower levels of negative educational outcomes, independent of intelligence and psychopathology. Positive attributes buffer the negative effects of lower intelligence on learning problems, and higher psychopathology on poor academic performance. Conclusion Children’s positive attributes are associated with lower levels of negative school outcomes. Positive attributes act both independently and by modifying the negative effects of low intelligence and high psychiatric symptoms on educational outcomes. Subsequent research should test interventions designed to foster the development of positive attributes in children at high risk for educational problems.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S089085671500725X

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