• externalizing problems;
  • internalizing problems;
  • social competence;
  • teacher relationships;
  • peer relationships;
  • school achievement


The aims of the present study were to investigate the role for problematic children of the child's social competence, teacher relations and behaviour with peers for later problem persistence, school performance and peer acceptance, in terms of moderating (protective and exacerbating) and independent effects. Groups of children with externalizing (n=26) and internalizing (n=25) problems and a non-problematic group (n=44) were followed from grade 1–6. Teachers rated behaviour problems and social competence in the first, third and sixth grades, the teacher–child relationship in third grade, and school achievement in sixth grade. Behaviour with peers was assessed in observations in later elementary school. Peer acceptance was assessed through peer nominations in sixth grade. Both problem groups had lower social competence, school achievement and peer acceptance in sixth grade than the non-problematic group. There were moderating and independent effects of social competence, teacher and peer relations on outcomes, but these applied mainly to children with internalizing problems. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.