American Journal of Educational Research. 2014, 2(11), 1005-1014DOI:
Abstract: The present study followed the attachment perspective for assessing the contribution of teacher-student relationships to the explanation of student school adaptation. The study sample included 100 pairs comprised of Israeli homeroom teachers and their school-aged students (mean age=10.7 years). Participating teachers and students reported on their perceptions about their reciprocal relationships on dimensions used for the evaluation of parent-child attachment relationships, such as availability, acceptance, closeness, rejection, conflict, and dependence. Additionally, 56 of the children's subject-matter teachers reported on the children's school adaptation. Person-centered cluster analysis identified two teacher-student ad hoc attachment-like relationship groups: secure (n=72), characterized by high levels of acceptance and closeness, and by low levels of rejection, conflict, and dependency; and insecure (n=28), characterized by high levels of rejection, conflict, and dependence, and by low levels of acceptance and closeness. After controlling for children's socio-demographic indicators (gender, age, class size, and family socioeconomic status), analysis revealed that children in the secure teacher-student attachment-like group showed lower levels of behavior problems (externalizing, internalizing), difficulties in learning self-regulation, higher levels of frustration tolerance, task orientation, popularity among peers, and better academic achievement than did the children in the insecure teacher-student attachment-like group. Implications for educational counseling intervention for teachers and for research are discussed.