America's Youngest Kindergarteners' Elevated Levels of Internalizing Problems at School Entry and Beyond: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Guang Zeng, Pingfu Fu, Henry May, Barbara Lopez, Lourdes Suarez-Morales, Manuel C. Voelkle, Chen-pin Wang, Robert F. Boruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The study investigated developmental trajectories of internalizing problems from kindergarten to fifth grade in young kindergarteners versus older peers in kindergarten, as well as factors that may be attributed to such differential trajectories. Data on a sample of 9,796 kindergarteners from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study were analyzed using individual growth curve models. Results revealed that the younger kindergarteners displayed more symptoms of internalizing problems than their older peers at school entry and that such elevated levels of problems persisted into fifth grade. Protective factors included higher socioeconomic status and favorable parental perceptions of child's abilities to pay attention and solve problems. These findings are informative for school-based early intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012



  • Developmental trajectories
  • ECLS-K
  • Externalizing problems
  • Internalizing problems
  • Kindergarteners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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