Effect of Key2Teach on Dutch teachers’ relationships with students with externalizing problem behavior: a randomized controlled trial

  • Kirsten HoogendijkEmail author
  • Judith G. Holland
  • Nouchka T. Tick
  • Adriaan W. H. Hofman
  • Sabine E. Severiens
  • Patricia Vuijk
  • Athanasios Maras
  • Dolf van Veen


The teacher-student relationship plays an important role in the academic and behavioral development of primary school children with externalizing problem behavior. However, such problem behavior often threatens the quality of the teacher-student relationship. Teacher-focused coaching intervention Key2Teach aims to improve elements of the relationship between teachers and students with externalizing problem behavior and consists of two phases and four building blocks. This intervention provides primary school teachers with insight into their mental representation of the relationship and opportunities to practice functional interaction skills. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT), effects of Key2Teach on different aspects of the relationship between teachers and students with externalizing problem behavior were examined. In two cohorts, 103 dyads consisting of a teacher and a student with externalizing problem behavior in grades 3–6 were assessed three times during a school year. Fifty-three dyads received the intervention (intervention group), whereas 50 dyads received no intervention (control group). Data were collected on teacher-reported teacher-student closeness and conflict, and on teacher interaction skills in various domains. Results show a significant increase in closeness and a decrease in conflict as a result of Key2Teach, with substantial effect sizes. No effects on teacher interaction skills were found. This study indicates that Key2Teach may help teachers to improve elements of the relationship they have with students with externalizing problem behavior. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.


Teacher-student relationships Key2Teach Intervention Externalizing problem behavior Teacher interaction skills 


Funding information

The study on the effects of Key2Teach was funded by a grant from SIA Taskforce for Applied Research in the Netherlands.

Compliance with ethical standards

The research protocol was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee Southwest Holland (METC-ZWH, 13-023).


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten Hoogendijk
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Judith G. Holland
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nouchka T. Tick
    • 3
  • Adriaan W. H. Hofman
    • 4
  • Sabine E. Severiens
    • 1
  • Patricia Vuijk
    • 5
  • Athanasios Maras
    • 2
  • Dolf van Veen
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Pedagogical SciencesErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Yulius AcademyYulius Mental Health OrganizationBarendrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Social and Behavioral SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4. Department of Education, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences,University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Rotterdam University of Applied SciencesRotterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Windesheim University of Applied SciencesZwolleThe Netherlands

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