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Workplace stress and the quality of teacher-children relationships in Head Start

The quality of the relationships between teachers and young children affects children's social and emotional development and their academic success. Little is known, however, about whether the amount of workplace stress experienced by early childhood educators impacts the quality of their relationships with young children. The purpose of this study was to determine whether workplace stress was associated with poorer quality teacher-children relationships in Head Start. Across 37 Head Start programs in Pennsylvania, 1001 teachers completed an anonymous, web-based survey about workplace stress and the levels of conflict and closeness in their relationships with children in their classrooms. We examined the associations between teacher-children relationship quality and the level of three types of perceived workplace stress: high demands, low control, and low support. Findings indicated that more workplace stress was associated with more conflict in teacher-children relationships. Interventions to address workplace stress should be evaluated for their potential to impact teacher-children relationship quality and children's social-emotional development. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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