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Effects of Aggression on Achievement: Does Conflict With the Teacher Make It Worse?


  • The data came from the school transition study, which followed approximately 400 low-income children and families from kindergarten or the first grade through the fifth grade. Principal investigators include Deborah Stipek, Penny Hauser-Cram, Walter Secada, Heather Weiss, and Jennifer Greene. Funding for the study was received from the MacArthur Foundation, the Department of Education, and the Foundation for Child Development. The authors are grateful to Tricia Valeski for her contributions to the conceptualization of this study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Deborah Stipek, School of Education, Stanford University, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-3096. Electronic mail may be sent to


This longitudinal study examined different explanations for negative associations between aggression and academic achievement using data collected from 403 children from low-income families followed from kindergarten or first grade (ages 6 and 7 years) through fifth grade (ages 10–11 years). Most results of growth curve analyses examining change over time and path analyses examining associations among the variables within grades were consistent with the hypothesis that the effect of aggression on achievement was partially mediated by the conflictual relationships relatively more aggressive children tended to develop with their teachers and concomitant reductions in engagement in academic tasks. The evidence suggested, however, that the relationship between aggression and achievement is complex and reciprocal. Gender differences were also observed.