The interaction between parental warmth and the teacher-student relationship predicts changes in early elementary children's problem behaviors

Wen Wang, Carlos Valiente, Nancy Eisenberg, Tracy L. Spinrad, Sarah K. Johns, Rebecca H. Berger, Marilyn S. Thompson, Armando A. Pina, Maciel M. Hernández, Jody Southworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study tested whether the relations between parental warmth and children's problem behaviors vary as a function of the quality of the teacher-student relationship while controlling for prior levels of the outcomes. When children (N = 301, M age = 5.48, 52% girls) were in kindergarten, teachers reported on the quality of the teacher-student relationship, and parents reported on their warmth toward their children and on their child's externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors. One year later, parents reported on children's problem behaviors. We found a consistent pattern of significant interactions supporting the hypothesis that the relations between parental warmth and problem behaviors vary as a function of the quality of the teacher-student relationship. Specifically, when controlling for prior levels of the outcomes, parental warmth was related negatively to externalizing and internalizing problems, at high, but not low, levels of teacher-student closeness. In addition, when teacher-student conflict was high, parental warmth was related negatively to externalizing and internalizing problems. These relations were non-significant at low levels of teacher-student conflict. Consequently, efforts to understand children's problem behaviors are likely to benefit from integrating information from multiple socializers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • externalizing problems
  • internalizing problems
  • parental warmth
  • teacher-student relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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