This is a request for an NIMH Mentored Scientist Development Award (K01) for Minority Scholars. The candidate proposes to use a mentored support period of 5 years to expand from a special education research focus to a mental health prevention perspective and achieve the career goal of becoming an independent mental health preventative intervention researcher. In doing so, the candidate would integrate substantive areas that together form a framework for research on the mental health effects of children's early school (grades K-3) teacher-student relations on students' academic adjustment, peer relations, and externalizing behavior problems. The K01 will support training, coursework, mentored relationships, empirical research, and other experiences to develop the candidate's proficiency in preventative intervention research. The following objectives will be achieved: 1) to develop a theoretical and conceptual understanding of the substantive content areas relevant to children's school adjustment, with a special emphasis on students' relationships at school, including teacher-student relationships, peer relationships, and home-school relationships; 2) to integrate and enhance the candidate's knowledge of psychopathology and aggression in children, social and cultural development, attachment and systems theories, and social-contextual influences; 3) to develop statistical and research design expertise as it applies to longitudinal preventative intervention trials; and 4) to organize, implement, and disseminate a program of research that will lead to an NIMH R01 mental health preventative intervention grant proposal. The primary vehicle for achieving the above career objectives is engaging in a prevention research project whose goal is to study the role of teacher-student relationships in academic adjustment, peer relations, and externalizing behavior problems. This on-going program of studies would provide the opportunity to apply transactional and social learning theory to the study of the proportional over-identification of minority children for special education programs. It would enable the development of pilot studies in preparation for the R01 application. The proposed research project's specific aims are: 1)to model the extent to which the quality of teacher-student relationships impact children's future school trajectories; 2)to model children's relationships with teachers and peers and malleability of developmental paths; 3)to model the extent of identification of minority children as """"""""seriously emotionally disturbed"""""""" (according to P.L. 105-17: IDEA 97) dependent upon the quality of teacher and peer relations in early elementary grades (K-3) and on selected child characteristics (e.g., scholastic aptitude, limited English proficiency, behavioral characteristics) and family variables (acculturation, ethnic identification, SES, parent involvement in child's schooling, home-school relationship).