Teacher-Child Relationship Quality and Children's School Outcomes: Exploring Gender Differences Across Elementary School Grades
AdvisorTaylor, Angela R.
Committee ChairTaylor, Angela R.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPast research highlights the important role of the teacher-child relationship in children's school adjustment and success. The primary purpose of the present study was to examine the role of child gender in teacher-child relationship quality across elementary school grades. Specifically, this study explored: 1) stability of teacher-child relationship quality over time for girls and boys, 2) gender differences in relationship quality at first, third, and fifth grade, 3) possible relational mechanisms that could mediate the association between child gender and teacher-child relationship quality, 4) child gender as a moderator between relationship quality and child outcomes both concurrently and over time and 5) the influence of teacher gender and teacher-child gender match on relationship quality. Using data from the NICHD Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development (SECCYD), these questions were explored in a sample of 682 children at first, third, and fifth grade. Analyses revealed relative stability in teacher-child relationship quality across grade level with no significant gender differences in stability. However, girls were consistently rated higher in closeness and boys higher in conflict across the grade levels. The child's affiliative orientation toward the teacher was found to partially mediate the link between child gender and relationship quality, such that girls' greater affiliation predicted greater closeness and lower conflict with the teacher. Child gender was found to moderate associations within grade level, such that closeness was associated with greater social competence for girls than boys. Conflict was also associated with more externalizing behaviors for girls than boys. Teacher-child gender match was also found to play a significant role in predicting teacher-child closeness. This study highlights important and significant contributions gender makes to teacher-child relationship quality.
Degree ProgramFamily & Consumer Sciences