The Impact of the Adult–Child Relationship on School Adjustment for Children at Risk of Serious Behavior Problems

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Center for Teaching and Learning

Publication Date



This study investigated the effect of the adult-child relationship on students’ social outcomes, academic competence and school engagement in a two-year Tier 2 intervention, the Check, Connect and Expect program. One hundred and three students from 2nd through 5th grade, their classroom teachers, and nine school-based coaches participated in this study. Students were identified as at-risk of developing emotional and behavior problems based on Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders (SSBD; Walker & Severson, 1992). Results indicated that teacher-reported social skills, academic competence and school engagement were negatively associated with SSBD maladaptive behaviors, and were positively associated with coach-student and teacher-student relationships. The teacher-student relationship had a major influence on students’ behavior outcomes, academic competence, and school engagement. However, the coach-student relationship only had unique effect on students’ social skill outcomes based on these data. These findings suggest that close teacher-student relationship can lead the developmental trajectory of children at risk toward positive school adjustment.


This article was originally published in Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders


© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2012