Teacher/student interactions and classroom behavior: The role of student temperament and gender

Sandra Graham McClowry, Eileen T. Rodriguez, Catherine S. Tamis-Lemonda, Mark E. Spellmann, Allyson Carlson, David L. Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of student temperament and gender to disruptive classroom behavior in urban primary grade schools. Teacher reports and classroom observations were used. Forty-four teachers and their 152 students participated. A two-step cluster analysis was conducted with teacher reports on their students' temperaments. Three temperament clusters were identified: industrious, intermediate, and high maintenance. ANOVAs revealed that, as compared to students with other temperaments, children who were high maintenance exhibited significantly higher levels of overt aggression toward others, emotional-oppositional behavior, attentional difficulties, and covert disruptive behavior. Teachers reported more difficulty managing the behavior of high maintenance students and were observed to provide more negative feedback to them compared to those who were industrious. Hierarchical and logistic regression analyses demonstrated that temperament mediated the relationship between student gender and disruptive classroom behaviors. Temperament also mediated the association between gender and teachers' difficulty managing students' covert disruptive behavior. Irrespective of gender, students whose temperaments were high maintenance and intermediate were more likely than industrious students to receive negative teacher feedback. Irrespective of students' temperament, teachers were observed to provide more positive feedback to boys than to girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-301
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


  • disruptive student behavior
  • school children
  • teacher/student interactions
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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