Does Child Likeability Mediate the Link Between Academic Competence and Depressive Symptoms in Early Elementary School?

Keith C. Herman, Caroline G. Hodgson, Colleen L. Eddy, Daniel R. Cohen, Wendy M. Reinke, Lori Burrell, Elizabeth C. Mcfarlane, Anne K. Duggan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study investigated the role of teacher-rated likeability as a mediator of the relation between low academic competence and depressive symptoms in elementary-aged children. Analyses focused on a sample of children at risk for child maltreatment living in Hawaii (n = 380). Structural equation modeling supported the hypothesized negative relations between academic competence in first grade and depressive symptoms in third grade controlling for correlated constructs (e.g., baseline social avoidance, parenting stress, externalizing problems, and internalizing symptoms). Teacher-rated likeability in second grade negatively mediated the effect of academic competence on depressive symptoms. Implications for understanding the role of early academic skill deficits and social judgments on risk for depressive symptoms as well as recommendations for interventions and prevention strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e331-e344
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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