Children’s Psychopathology: Trajectories, Risk Factors, and Effects of Services
Paul Morgan

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Pennsylvania State University

Primary Discipline

Children who frequently engage in problem behaviors are at risk for a range of negative, long-term outcomes. Examples include dropping out of school, living in poverty, being unemployed, and being incarcerated. Yet the trajectories—and risk factors for those trajectories—of children’s psychopathology are not well known. It is also not well known whether grade retention and special education—the two interventions most widely used by elementary schools—help reduce, or possibly increase, children’s risk for psychopathology. My project has two goals. First, I seek to identify the trajectories and risk factors of children’s teacher-reported attentional, externalizing, and internalizing problem behaviors. I also investigate whether these factors increase a child’s likelihood of self-reporting feeling socially isolated, angry, or sad. Second, I estimate the effects of retention and special education on children’s teacher-rated behaviors and self-reported feelings. The project’s methodological features include (a) a large, longitudinal sample, (b) measures of many child-, family-, and school-level background characteristics, (c) two measures of psychopathology with known psychometric properties, (d) both teacher-ratings and child self-reports, and (e) statistical techniques that help control for between-group variation in background characteristics. This project will contribute to the education field’s attempts to help all children experience educational and societal opportunity.
About Paul Morgan

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