The Unique and Interactive Contributions of Peer Victimization and Teacher-Child Relationships to Children’s School Adjustment
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The present study tested whether a close relationship with the teacher would reduce, or a conflictual relationship would amplify, links between peer victimization and school maladjustment. Data on 352 3rd- and 4th-grade children (166 boys; 186 girls) were collected over a two-year period. Teachers provided data on their relationships with students and students’ academic performance. Children completed measures assessing peer victimization and school liking. Latent growth curve analyses revealed that at high levels of peer victimization declines in school liking were reduced when student shared a close, low conflict, relationship with their teacher. Furthermore, a combination of peer victimization and poor teacher-child relationship quality predicted trajectories of sustained, low academic performance. These findings highlight the benefits of a close relationship with the teacher for victimized children and the cumulative impact stress within peer- and teacher-relationships can have on students.