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Supporting children with insecure attachment in school: the teacher-child relationship as a protective factor against the development of behavioural difficulties in middle childhood

Supporting children with insecure attachment in school: the teacher-child relationship as a protective factor against the development of behavioural difficulties in middle childhood
Supporting children with insecure attachment in school: the teacher-child relationship as a protective factor against the development of behavioural difficulties in middle childhood
Internalising and externalising difficulties in childhood have been linked with negative outcomes in later life including criminal behaviour and mental health difficulties. Individuals who have insecure attachments to caregivers are at a heightened risk of developing such behaviours. A systematic literature search was conducted to investigate whether the teacher-child relationship could protect children with insecure attachments from developing into behaviour difficulties. A total of eleven studies were reviewed and nine indicate that the teacher-child relationship can protect students if they are at risk due to negative caregiving experiences or insecure attachments to caregivers. The methodological difficulties of multi-informant reports and low risk samples were explored. Evidence for a protective effect in early childhood was found in two studies however future research should explore whether this impact persists into middle childhood and adolescence and obtain the child’s perception of relationship quality. Thus the current empirical study investigated whether this protection continues into middle childhood. Participants included 163children (aged 7-12) and their teachers (N=41). Children completed measures of attachment security with a primary caregiver and relationship quality with their teacher. Teachers also reported on relationship quality and rated the children’s internalising and externalising behaviours in school. Results indicate that there is a significant correlation between attachment security and externalising behaviours but not internalising. There is also a significant correlation between teacher-child relationship quality and attachment security. Teacher perception of conflict is the biggest predictor of behavioural difficulties. There was no evidence that the teacher-child relationship moderates the relationship between attachment security and behaviour difficulties in middle childhood. Implications for educational psychology and future research are discussed.
Turner, Beth
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Turner, Beth
5cd0ac12-53fd-44a2-a3b2-d31775b62908
Brignell, Catherine
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(2016) Supporting children with insecure attachment in school: the teacher-child relationship as a protective factor against the development of behavioural difficulties in middle childhood. University of Southampton, School of Psychology, Doctoral Thesis, 144pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Internalising and externalising difficulties in childhood have been linked with negative outcomes in later life including criminal behaviour and mental health difficulties. Individuals who have insecure attachments to caregivers are at a heightened risk of developing such behaviours. A systematic literature search was conducted to investigate whether the teacher-child relationship could protect children with insecure attachments from developing into behaviour difficulties. A total of eleven studies were reviewed and nine indicate that the teacher-child relationship can protect students if they are at risk due to negative caregiving experiences or insecure attachments to caregivers. The methodological difficulties of multi-informant reports and low risk samples were explored. Evidence for a protective effect in early childhood was found in two studies however future research should explore whether this impact persists into middle childhood and adolescence and obtain the child’s perception of relationship quality. Thus the current empirical study investigated whether this protection continues into middle childhood. Participants included 163children (aged 7-12) and their teachers (N=41). Children completed measures of attachment security with a primary caregiver and relationship quality with their teacher. Teachers also reported on relationship quality and rated the children’s internalising and externalising behaviours in school. Results indicate that there is a significant correlation between attachment security and externalising behaviours but not internalising. There is also a significant correlation between teacher-child relationship quality and attachment security. Teacher perception of conflict is the biggest predictor of behavioural difficulties. There was no evidence that the teacher-child relationship moderates the relationship between attachment security and behaviour difficulties in middle childhood. Implications for educational psychology and future research are discussed.

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Published date: June 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403481
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403481
PURE UUID: cb63ebb4-9b74-452c-a8fb-70f3ab51c816

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Dec 2016 14:07
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:42

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Contributors

Author: Beth Turner
Thesis advisor: Catherine Brignell

University divisions

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