Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding Subtypes of Socially Withdrawn and Aggressive Behaviors on the Playground Across the Early School Years


teachers, social withdrawal, playground, childhood, aggressive behaviors


Research Findings: The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ beliefs about and responses to children’s withdrawn behaviors (reticence and solitary-passive behavior) and aggressive behaviors (relational and physical aggression) on the playground across grades (preschool through 2nd grade) and by gender. Participants included 171 female teachers of preschool (n = 46), kindergarten (n = 45), 1st-grade (n = 41), and 2nd-grade (n = 39) classes from a Mountain West community. Overall, reticence was perceived as less appropriate than solitary-passive behavior, and physical aggression was perceived as less appropriate than relational aggression, although both forms of aggression were seen as less appropriate than both forms of withdrawal. Likewise, it was found that teachers do not take as proactive an approach to dealing with all withdrawn behaviors as they do in dealing with aggressive behaviors. Practice or Policy: Important gender differences were found and are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, L. J., & Evans, C. A. (2019). Teachers' beliefs regarding subtypes of socially withdrawn and aggressive behaviors on the playground across the early school years. Early Education and Development, 30, 145-158.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Early Education and Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor