Background: High trait anger and stress, ineffective patterns of anger expression, and coping are risk factors for the development of disease and negative social behaviors in children and adults. School connectedness may be protective against negative consequences in adolescents, but less is known about this in school-aged children. The purposes of this study were to characterize relationships between trait anger, stress, patterns of anger expression, resources for coping, and school connectedness and to determine if race and gender moderate these relationships in elementary school–aged children.
Methods: Using self-report, standardized instruments, a convenience sample of 166 fourth graders in 4 elementary schools in 1 US school district was assessed in the fifth week of the school year.
Results: School connectedness was positively associated with social confidence and behavior control and negatively associated with trait anger, anger-out, and stress. In multiple regression analyses to test for interactions, gender did not moderate the effects of school connectedness in any of the models, while race moderated the relationships between school connectedness and both stress and social confidence. Students with higher school connectedness had lower trait anger and anger-out and higher behavior control, regardless of gender and/or race. White students higher in school connectedness had lower stress and higher social confidence.
Conclusions: Findings indicate the protective effect of school connectedness on trait anger, anger-out, and behavior control in school-aged children, regardless of race or gender. The protective effect of school connectedness on stress and social confidence may depend on race.