Teachers, afterschool program staff, and mothers: Relationships with key adults and children’s adjustment in early elementary school
According to bioecological theory, children’s experiences in one developmental setting are meaningful for their adjustment in other settings. In the current study, the quality of children’s relationships with classroom teachers, afterschool program staff, and mothers in 1st grade (n=137) were examined in relation to their academic, social-emotional, and behavioral adjustment at school in 2nd grade. Closeness and conflict varied across these three adult-child relationships. Our hypotheses were partially supported such that higher teacher-child conflict in 1st grade related to poorer work habits and cooperation in 2nd grade. More conflict with afterschool staff in 1st grade was associated with lower social self-control and more externalizing behaviors at school in 2nd grade. Closeness was not related to children’s adjustment in 2nd grade. These findings highlight the potential negative implications of conflictual relationships with teachers and afterschool staff for children’s school adjustment. (author abstract)
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