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J Sch Psychol. 2008 Aug;46(4):367-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2007.06.009. Epub 2007 Jul 27.

Classroom problem behavior and teacher-child relationships in kindergarten: the moderating role of classroom climate.

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Department of Psychology, Center for School Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Young children with problem behavior in the classroom are at risk for developing more conflictual and less close relationships with their teachers. Two studies in kindergarten (N=3798; N=237) shed light on some aspects of classroom climate that can moderate this risk for relational problems. Results showed problematic classroom compositions, in terms of high average levels of internalizing or externalizing behavior, to exacerbate the risk for teachers to form more conflictual relationships with children showing externalizing behavior. Additionally, observed emotional support of teachers was found to be protective for the relational functioning of children at risk due to maladjusted behavior. Specifically, with emotionally supportive teachers, children who expose internalizing or externalizing behavior are no longer at risk for developing less close or more conflictual relationships with their teachers respectively. Practical implications and limitations of the studies are reported and suggestions are made for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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