Indexed on: 16 Jul '16Published on: 16 Jul '16Published in: Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53
The goal of the study was to test the bidirectional associations between teacher-child relationship quality and behavior problems in an elementary school age sample of Chinese American immigrant children. A socioeconomically diverse sample (N = 258) of first- and second-generation Chinese American children (M ages = 7.4 and 9.2 years at Wave 1 and Wave 2, respectively; 48% girls) was recruited from schools and communities and followed for 1 to 2 years. Two waves of data on dimensions of teacher-child relationship quality (i.e., warmth, closeness, and conflict) and children's externalizing and internalizing problems were collected through parents', teachers', and children's report. Path analyses were conducted to test the bidirectional associations between teacher-child relationship quality and behavior problems, controlling for prior levels, child demographic characteristics, and teacher ethnicity. Transactional associations between teacher-child relationship quality and children's behavior problems were found for externalizing problems. That is, teacher-rated externalizing problems negatively predicted child-rated closeness, and teacher-rated conflict positively predicted parent-rated externalizing problems. On the other hand, teacher-child relationship quality did not predict subsequent internalizing problems. However, parent-rated internalizing problems negatively predicted teacher-rated warmth, and teacher-rated internalizing problems negatively predicted teacher-rated conflict. Using a multiple informant approach and a diverse sample of Chinese American immigrant children, this study extends our knowledge of the reciprocal associations between teacher-child relationship quality and children's behavior problems. Based on the results of this study, the authors provide recommendations for educators and future research with this understudied population.