Thomas A. Kindermann
Department of Psychology, Portland State University



I am a developmental psychologist who adheres to a lifespan perspective on human development. My main interests deal with questions about how people's social contexts can influence their developing competencies, motivation, and independence.

My own (and collaborative) research studies around this theme have been conducted in family homes, child care institutions, school settings (preschoolers, 4th, 6th, and 9th through 11th graders), nursing homes, and hospitals for the chronically ill. Key questions were about mothers' adjustments of their socializing interactions to their children's developmental levels, about peer group selection and socialization processes and their consequences for children's motivation in school, and about the extent to which everyday interaction patterns between residents and staff in institutions for the elderly play a role for residents' levels of dependency. Because of my strong interest in observational methodologies and social interaction research, most of the studies included observational, questionnaire, as well as interview methods.


Composite Map of Peer Group Affiliations in a Cohort of Sixth Graders (Kindermann, 2007)

         jpg of composite map   (click to enlarge)


Kindelberger, C., Mallet, P., & Kindermann, T. A. (In Press). Comparaison de deux méthodes conçues pour identifier les groupes amicaux d'enfants ou d'adolescents.  L'année Psychologique.

Kindermann, T. A., & Skinner, E. A. (2009). How do naturally existing peer groups shape children’s academic development during sixth grade? European Journal of Psychological Science, 3, 31-43.

Kindermann, T. A. & Gest, S. D. (2009). Assessment of the peer group: Identifying social networks in natural settings and measuring their influences. In: Rubin, K. H., Bukowski, W., & Laursen, B. Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups (Chapter 6). New York: Guilford.


Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., Waters, A. M. & Kindermann, T. A. (2009). A social relations analysis of liking for and by peers: Associations with gender, depression, peer perception, and worry, Journal of Adolescence (2009), Journal of Adolescence, doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.05.005

Skinner, E. A., Kindermann, T. A., Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (In Press). Engagement as an organizational construct in the dynamics of motivational development. In Wentzel, K. R. & Wigfield, A. (Eds.) Handbook of motivation in school. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Skinner, E. A., Kindermann, T. A., & Furrer, C. (2009). A motivational perspective on engagement and disaffection: Conceptualization and assessment of children’s behavioral and emotional participation in academic activities in the classroom. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 69, 493-525.


Skinner, E. A., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 765–781.

Kindermann, T. A. (2008). Can we make causal inferences about the influence of children’s naturally-existing social networks on their school motivation? To appear in  Little, T., Card, N. & Selig, J. (Eds.), Interdependent data in developmental psychology, (pp. 343-376). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Hodges, E. A., Houck, G. M., & Kindermann, T. A. (2007). Reliability of the Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale during toddlerhood. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 30 (3), 109-130.

Kindermann, T. A, (2007). Effects of naturally-existing peer groups on changes in academic engagement in a cohort of sixth graders. Child Development, 78, 1186-1203.

Kindermann, T. A. (2003).  Development of children’s social relationships.  In J. Valsiner & K. Connolly (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychology (pp. 407-430).  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Sage, N.A. & Kindermann, T.A. (2001). Influences socio-structurelles engroupe de pairs sur la motivation scolaire des jeunes enfents (Peer group influences on children's school motivation: An observational study of social learning mechanisms in the classroom.). Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Education.

Sage, N. A., & Kindermann, T. A. (1999). Peer networks, behavior contingencies, and children's engagement in the classroom. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 454(1) 143-171.

Kindermann T. A. (1998). Children's development within peer groups: Using composite social maps to identify networks and to study their influences. In W. Damon (Gen. Ed.), W. M. Bukowski & A. H. N. Cillessen (Series Eds.). New Directions in Child Development (Vol 80, Summer 1998). Sociometry Then and Now : Building on Six Decades of Measuring Children's Experiences Within the Peer Group. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kindermann, T. A. (1996). Strategies for the study of individual development within naturally-existing peer groups. Social Development, 5, 158-173.

Kindermann, T. A., McCollam, T. L., & Gibson, E. Jr. (1996). Peer group influences on children's developing school motivation. In K. Wentzel & J. Juvonon (Eds.), (pp. 279-312). Social Motivation : Understanding Children's School Adjustment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Kindermann, T. A. & Valsiner, J. (Eds.) (1995). The Development of Person-Context Relations. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Kindermann, T. A. (1993). Natural peer groups as contexts for individual development: The case of children's motivation in school. Developmental Psychology, 29, 970-977. APA requested that I remove this link from my web site: To ask for a copy, send a message to:

Kindermann, T. A. (1993). Fostering independence in everyday mother-child interactions: Changes in contingencies as children grow competent in developmental tasks. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 16, 513-535.

Kindermann, T. A., Guthrie, G. R., & Wesley, F. (1993). Anna Berliner: Wilhelm Wundts einzige Studentin (Anna Berliner: Wundt's only female student). Psychologie und Geschichte, 4, 263-277.

Kindermann, T. A. & Skinner, E. A. (1992). Modeling environmental development: Individual and contextual trajectories. In J. B. Asendorpf & J. Valsiner (Eds.). Stability and Change in Development : A Study of Methodological Reasoning (pp. 155-190). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Kindermann, T. A., & Valsiner, J. (1989). Research strategies in culture-inclusive developmental psychology. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Child Development in Cultural Context (pp. 13-50). Göttingen/Toronto: Hogrefe.

Kindermann, T. A., & Skinner, E. A., (1988). Developmental tasks as organizers of children's ecologies: Mother contingencies as children learn to walk, eat, and dress. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Children's development within socio-culturally structured environments (pp. 66-105). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Baltes, M. M., Kindermann, T. A., Reisenzein, R., & Schmid, U. (1987). Further observational data on the behavioral and social world of institutions for the aged. Psychology and Aging, 2, 390-403. -APA requested that I remove this link from my web site: To ask for a copy, send a message


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Copyright @ 1998 – 2007. T.A. Kindermann. All rights reserved. No other reproduction or republication without written permission.