Associations among teachers’ depressive symptoms and students’ classroom instructional experiences in third grade

Leigh McLean, Tashia Abry, Michelle Taylor, Carol Mc Donald Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Recent studies have established connections among teachers’ mental health and student outcomes, however there is limited understanding of how these teacher characteristics manifest in the classroom to affect students. The present study informed this gap by examining the associations among third grade teachers’ (N = 32) self-reported symptoms of clinical depression and their students’ (N = 326) classroom instructional experiences. Eight student experiences described by the Individualizing Student Instruction framework were investigated, including academic instruction facilitated by the teacher in various student groupings, students’ independent and group work, teachers’ planning/organizing instruction, and students’ time off-task and in transitions. Multilevel modeling revealed negative associations between teachers’ depressive symptoms and (a) teacher-facilitated academic instruction provided to the whole class and (b) teachers’ planning/organizing instruction. Results suggest that teachers experiencing more symptoms may under-utilize instructional approaches that require more effort on their part. We discussed the implications of our findings for students’ academic and social-emotional learning, and the potential benefits of incorporating mental health support components into teacher training and professional development aimed at improving instructional practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-168
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of School Psychology
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Classroom observation
  • Depression
  • Elementary education
  • Instruction
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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