Early Education and Development Moving Forward in the Study of Temperament and Early Education Outcomes: Mediating and Moderating Factors

Early Education and Development


Since emerging in the 1970’s as a notable attribute related to important child outcomes, “what” temperament is has gone through considerable refinement. Given changes in the field, driven by advances in the understanding of what temperament is across levels of analysis (e.g., genetic, physiological, and behavioral), how and when it develops and conceptual level refinement, scholars recently revisited the definition of temperament and agreed that “temperament traits are early emerging basic dispositions in the domains of activity, affectivity, attention, and self-regulation, and these dispositions are the product of complex interactions among genetic, biological, and environmental factors across time (Shiner et al., 2012, p. 437).”

Despite advances in the understanding of temperament and how it can influence children’s outcomes, important questions remain. Notably, one area in need of greater empirical focus encompasses understanding how early temperament attributes influence aspects of school readiness and early academic achievement. Importantly, such work needs to move beyond consideration of the direct effects of temperament on school readiness and early academic achievement.


This special issue is focused on advancing our understanding of the mechanisms (i.e., mediators) accounting for associations between early temperament predispositions and school success and identifying possible ways in which various factors may alter relations between early temperament dispositions and children’s school success (i.e., moderators).  Moving away from direct effects will allow for the development of more targeted interventions aimed at supporting successful transitions to school as well as maintaining school success.  In this special issue we define school success broadly, to include important pre-academic attributes important for facilitating school success, school readiness, academic achievement, and social-emotional behaviors that can affect achievement, as well as relations between children and teachers and peers in the school setting.

To meet the goals of this special issue and advance the field:

  • We particularly want to encourage submissions examining interactions between child temperament and context (e.g., early education settings, parenting, and other environmental contexts) and interactions among temperament characteristics (e.g., temperament by temperament) in relation to education-related outcomes OR mediators that link early temperament to education-related outcomes, including social-emotional outcomes as measured within early childcare settings (e.g., behavior problems measured in classrooms).
  • Given potential policy implications for early interventions, we also are interested in submissions that consider temperament in the first 2-3 years of life in relation to early educational outcomes or outcomes that consider school readiness or children’s attributes (e.g., language and cognitive development) that have been linked to school readiness, academic achievement, and social-emotional outcomes in early childcare settings.
  • Development of interventions and measures of temperament related to temperament within an educational context will be considered. Examples include papers addressing the psychometric properties for teacher-reported measures of temperament or of classroom observational measures of temperament.
  • We also encourage submissions that employ a wide-range of methods to assess temperament, including behavioral and physiological/bio-marker approaches, and educational outcomes.
  • Preference is for longitudinal studies; however, cross-sectional works that exhibit a high degree of novelty in the questions addressed or in other aspects of methodology (e.g., bio-marker or genetic-level assessment of temperament) will be considered.
  • Review papers and meta-analyses on relevant topics will also be considered.


Shiner, R. L., Buss, K. A., McClowry, S. G., Putnam, S. P., Saudino, K. J., & Zentner, M. (2012). What is temperament now? Assessing temperament research on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Goldsmith et al. (1987). Child Development Perspectives, 6, 436-444.

How to Submit:

Please submit a blinded manuscript here. In the cover letter please specify that your manuscript is being submitted for the Special Issue: Moving forward in the Study of Temperament and Early Education Outcomes: Mediating and Moderating Factors.

Submissions will follow the journal’s regular blind review process. The guest editors and journal editor will make final acceptance decisions. Manuscripts must strictly conform to the formatting and writing style requirements of the APA Publication Manual (6th edition).  Manuscripts that are accepted but not included in the special issue (due to space restrictions) will be published in a future issue of the journal.

Inquiries regarding this special issue should be directed to Cynthia Smith (smithcl@vt.edu) and David Bridgett (dbridgett1@niu.edu).

Timeline for Special Issue:

April 1, 2017 – Deadline for submissions

July, 2017 – First reviews and comments to authors

September, 2017 – Revisions due and sent for second review if necessary

December, 2017 – Revision comments to authors

March, 2018 – Final edits completed by authors

May, 2018 – Proofs

July, 2018 - Publication

Editorial information