Getting a good start in school: Effects of INSIGHTS on children with high maintenance temperaments

Meghan P. McCormick, Erin E. O'Connor, Elise Cappella, Sandee G. McClowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the efficacy of INSIGHTS into Children's Temperament (INSIGHTS) in supporting the behaviors and engagement of low-income kindergarten and first-grade children with high-maintenance temperaments. INSIGHTS is a temperament-based social-emotional learning intervention that includes teacher, parent, and classroom programs. Participants in the study included N = 435 children (Mean age = 5.38 SD = 0.61) from 22 under-resourced, urban elementary schools who were randomly assigned to INSIGHTS or a supplemental after-school reading program. Sixty-nine children were identified as having a high-maintenance temperament, characterized by low levels of task persistence and high levels of motor activity and negative reactivity. Individual growth modeling showed that children with high-maintenance temperaments in INSIGHTS evidenced faster reductions in disruptive behaviors and off-task behaviors across kindergarten and first grade than their peers in the supplemental reading program. Such children in INSIGHTS also had lower overall levels of both disruptive behaviors and off-task behaviors and higher levels of behavioral engagement than children in the comparison group at the end of first grade. Intervention effects for children with high-maintenance temperaments were partially mediated through improvements in their relationships with their teachers. Implications for social-emotional learning intervention for high-risk children and early educational policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue numberPA
StatePublished - 2015


  • Disruptive behaviors
  • Engagement
  • Intervention
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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