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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Correlates of closeness and conflict in early elementary teacher -student relationships
by Wolfson, Mary M., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2009, 91; 3375245
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the joint and collective contributions of student and teacher factors to observed variance in reports of conflict and closeness in first and second grade teacher-student relationships (STR). This study uses two data sets previously collected from elementary schools in the greater Pittsburgh area, to examine the association between child and teacher factors with the relationship qualities of closeness and conflict in early elementary teacher child relationships. Children from each sample were followed from 1st to 2nd grade (N=96 and N=44 respectively), and data were collected from parents and teachers, as well as through direct observation in each academic year. Parents reported on child externalizing behavior using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (Achenbach, 1981), and sociability using the Buss and Plomin Emotionality Activity Level and Sociabillity Inventory (EAS)(Buss & Plomin, 1984). Teachers reported on the quality of their relationship each participating student using the Student Teacher Relationship Survey (STRS) (Pianta, 2001). Additionally, observations were made of teacher classroom behavior using the Arnett Caregiver interaction scale. Child externalizing behavior and teacher sensitivity, detachment and punitiveness were tested for association with 1st and 2nd grade teacher reported conflict. Child sociability and teacher sensitivity, detachment and punitiveness were tested for association with 1st and 2nd grade teacher reported closeness. These factors were also used to predict change in teacher student relationship quality between 1 st and 2nd grades. Results showed student externalizing behavior to be positively associated with contemporaneous relationship conflict, and teacher detachment and punitiveness to be associated inversely with contemporaneous closeness. Teacher sensitivity and student externalizing behavior interacted when predicting change in relationship conflict. Teacher sensitivity and change in teacher sensitivity both predicted change in relationship closeness. These results both replicate and extend the body of existing research on teacher student relationship quality. The association of child externalizing behavior to relationship conflict was replicated, although the observed effect size was significantly different from previous findings. The contribution of teacher classroom behavior to the prediction of unique variance in relationship closeness is unique to this study. Additionally, the prediction of change in relationship quality through student and teacher factors, as well as the joint contribution of each is an extension of existing research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vondra, Joan I.
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Educational psychology
Keywords: Child factors, Closeness, Conflict, Early childhood, Early elementary, Teacher factors, Teacher sensitivity, Teacher-student relationships
Publication Number: 3375245
ISBN: 978-1-109-39594-5
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