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Links among Italian preschoolers' socioemotional competence, teacher-child relationship quality, and peer acceptance

Research Findings: The purpose of the present study was to examine the relations among teacher-child relationship quality (close, conflictive, and dependent), children's social behavior, and peer likability in a sample of Italian preschool-age children (46 boys, 42 girls). Preschool teachers evaluated the quality of the teacher-child relationship and children's social behaviors (i.e., social competence, anger-aggression, and anxiety-withdrawal). Peer-rated likability was measured using a sociometric procedure. Results indicated that conflictual teacher-child relationships were related to high aggressive behavior, and dependent teacher-child relationships were positively associated with children's anxiety-withdrawal. Moreover, we found an indirect association between close teacher-child relationship quality and peer likability through children's social competence. Practice or Policy: The findings provide evidence that the teacher-child relationship is critical for children's social behaviors and that social competence is uniquely related to peer likability. (author abstract)
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