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Teacher-Child Relationships: Examining Relations Among Children's Risks, Relationships, and Externalizing Behaviors in Head Start

The University of Maryland will explore how the interaction between teacher-child relationships and family risk factors impacts children's externalizing behaviors. The specific study objectives are to: (a) examine whether teacher-child relationship quality moderates the impact of family risk (parental mental health and family functioning) on children's externalizing behaviors; (b) examine whether teacher, child, and classroom characteristics are associated with high quality teacher-child relationships; and (c) develop a partnership with Head Start to determine how researchers and practitioners can work together to enhance teacher-child relationships. The study will be implemented in 13 Head Start classrooms with 100 children, their primary caregivers, and their teachers. A latent variable structural equation model will be tested to examine relations among variables. Parents' mental health will be indicated by depression and parenting stress. Family functioning will be indicated by family conflict and cohesion. Teacher-child relationship quality will be assessed using both teacher reports and an observation measure of teacher child interactions. Children's externalizing behaviors will be assessed using the Caregiver-Teacher Report Form 1 1/2 -5. Results are expected to aid Head Start in determining how the program can be more effective in helping to protect high-risk children from developing externalizing behaviors.
Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
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