The combined effects of teacher-child and peer relationships on children’s social-emotional adjustment.


Teachers and peers represent two important dimensions of the classroom social ecology that have important implications for children’s social-emotional adjustment. This study examined the combined effects of teacher-child relationships (TCR) and peer relationships for 6-7 year-old children on their social-emotional adjustment at 8-9 years. The sample was comprised of children and their teachers participating in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (n = 2857). Teachers reported on TCR, peer relationships, and children’s emotional well-being, and children provided self-reported self-concept and school liking during a face-to-face interview. The analytic approach extends previous research by modeling TCR and peer relationships in combination, using cluster analysis to understand the nature of 6-7year-old children’s social relationships in the classroom. Five distinct profiles of children were identified: adaptive, teacher-oriented, teacher-child conflict prominent, non-adaptive, and invisible. The adaptive profile had the best outcomes on all three aspects of social-emotional adjustment at age 8-9; the non-adaptive profile had the poorest outcomes, and the invisible group was mid-range. The teacher-oriented and teacher-child conflict prominent groups had mixed outcomes for social-emotional adjustment. Implications for school psychologists and teachers are discussed.