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Beyond the Classroom: The Protective Role of Student–Teacher Relationships on Parenting Stress

Abstract

Caregivers are influential in young children’s lives. As most children spend time in care outside of the home, it is critical to examine the interplay between parents and schools and how they influence children's development. The current study examined the spillover of student–teacher relationship quality to the home environment, namely, parenting stress. Student–teacher relationship quality, parenting stress, child negative affect, and parental depressive symptoms were assessed in 112 triads of preschoolers, teachers, and parents. Results suggested student–teacher conflict related to higher parenting stress across all levels of negative affect, when controlling for depressive symptoms, child age, and child gender. For student–teacher closeness, associations depended on child negative affect; for children with high negative affect, increased student–teacher closeness related to lower parenting stress, but for children with low negative affect, there was no association. Findings highlight the protective role of close student–teacher relationships for children and parents and have implications for how teachers and their communication with families may positively impact parents and families.

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Funding

This study was supported by a Head Start Research Scholars Grant 90YR0063 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families awarded to Drs. Julia Mendez and Diana Westerberg.

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Westerberg, D., Newland, R. & Mendez, J.L. Beyond the Classroom: The Protective Role of Student–Teacher Relationships on Parenting Stress. Early Childhood Educ J 48, 633–642 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01024-w

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Keywords

  • Student–teacher relationships
  • Parenting stress
  • Parental depression
  • Home-school communication