Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Author's Keywords

Parental involvement; Teacher-student relationships; Behavioral characteristics; Teacher bonding


Teacher-student relationships; Teenagers--Education; Parent-teacher relationships


This dissertation provides an examination of contributing factors to high quality teacher-student relationships during adolescence. High quality teacher-student relationships have been linked to better academic, emotional, and social functioning for students in elementary, middle, and high school. While the importance of teacher-student relationships is well documented, less is known about contributors to the relationship, especially during adolescence. Previous research has identified that in younger populations a student's gender, income, behavioral characteristics, and parental involvement can influence the nature of the teacher-student relationship. This dissertation provides an important extension of contributing factors into the adolescent age group, where teacher-student relationships offer an additional source of adult support and positively impact bonding to school norms and emotional functioning. This dissertation uses 820 participants from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Collection of data for use in this study occurred in 2006, which adolescents were 15 years of age. Data were collected from adolescents via questionnaires in the lab and home and from parents in the home only. Demographic data included gender and income. Additional data was collected from measures of teacher relationships, maternal and paternal involvement, and behavioral problems. A series of hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the extent to which parental involvement and behavioral characteristics predict the quality of teacher-student relationships as well as to what extent behavioral characteristics and income moderate the relationship between parental involvement and teacher-student relationship quality. Results from this dissertation indicate that both gender and income are significantly related to teacher-student relationship quality, with girls experiencing more high quality relationships. Income results were mixed. Students from high-income homes experienced more quality in overall relationships with teachers while low-income students endorsed better individual teacher relationships. Furthermore, ratings of both maternal and paternal involvement were significantly related to higher ratings of teacher-student relationship quality. Taken together, research indicates that parents who are involved in a student's education influence the relationship the child has with his/her teacher, thereby improving academic success and emotional functioning. The dissertation concludes with implications for educators, schools, and counselors.