Stress behaviors and activity type participation of preschoolers in more and less developmentally appropriate classrooms: Ses and sex differences

Craig H. Hart, Brigham Young University
Diane C. Burts, Louisiana State University
Mary Ann Durland, Kentucky Institute for Education Research
Rosalind Charlesworth, Weber State University
Michele DeWolf, Louisiana State University
Pamela O. Fleege, University of South Florida, Tampa


This study investigated the effect of classroom type (more developmentally appropriate—DAP; and less developmentally appropriate—DIP) on the stress behaviors of 102 preschool-age children as moderated by socioeconomic status (SES) and sex. Also explored were activity type participation rates in both classroom types as a function of both SES and sex. Substantive findings indicated that twice the level of overall stress behavior was observed in DIP versus DAP preschool classrooms. In DIP classrooms, lower SES preschoolers exhibited significantly more stress behavior than did higher SES preschoolers. This was not the case in DAP classrooms. Males in DIP classrooms also exhibited more stress behavior during small-motor/paper-and-pencil activities when compared with females in less appropriate classrooms. Lower SES preschoolers were more involved in less appropriate classroom activities than their higher SES counterparts in DIP classrooms. No SES or sex differences in activity type participation were found in more DAP classrooms. © 1998 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.