Deakin University

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Student–teacher relationship quality in children with and without ADHD: a cross-sectional community based study

journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Nardia Zendarski, K Haebich, Sampada BhideSampada Bhide, J Quek, J M Nicholson, K E Jacobs, D Efron, Emma SciberrasEmma Sciberras
The relationships children form with their teachers in early childhood are known to be important in the context of their ongoing learning and development. This study investigated student–teacher relationship quality (STRQ) in grade one students with (n = 177) and without (n = 208) attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We also examined whether a range of child and teacher factors were associated with STRQ. Children (M = 7.3 years; SD = 0.4) were recruited through 43 schools and screened for ADHD using parent and teacher screening questionnaires (Conners 3 ADHD index). ADHD cases were confirmed using the diagnostic interview schedule for children version IV. STRQ was rated by teachers using the student–teacher relationship scale — short form. Results showed that children with ADHD experienced poorer STRQ compared to children without ADHD (Cohen's d = 1.11). STRQ was associated with child sex, medication use, ADHD subtype, cognitive/academic functioning and behavior, teacher experience, and self-efficacy, and parent education and socio-economic status. After controlling for school and teacher clustering, children's prosocial behavior and teacher years of experience were positively associated with STRQ in both groups. In children with ADHD, conduct problems and child sex (boys) predicted poorer teacher relationship quality. For children without ADHD, higher socio-economic status was associated with better STRQ. Targeting modifiable factors associated with STRQ for children with and without ADHD and their teachers may be one way of improving school outcomes for at-risk children. Promoting prosocial behavior in classrooms may benefit STRQ for all children.



Early childhood research quarterly




2nd Quarter


275 - 284




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal