Children experiencing homelessness face many adversities that can negatively impact their well-being but many have the capacity for resilience. Since teacher-child relationships can support child resilience, we examined how cumulative and specific sociodemographic risk factors were related to teacher-child closeness and conflict. Data were drawn from a larger data set collected from two homeless shelters during 2012. Participants were recruited from two shelters during 2012, including 83 caregivers (89.2% biological mothers; Female 95.2%, M(age) = 30.3 years, range = 19-49; 61.4% African American, 3.6% African Native, 14.5% Caucasian, 9.6% Multiracial, 10.8% other) and their children (54.2% male, M(age) = 5.9, range= 4.5-6.92; 66.3% African American, 1.2% African Native, 4.8% Caucasian, 22.9% Multiracial, 4.8% other). Parents provided demographic information and teachers subsequently reported on their relationships with the children. Higher cumulative sociodemographic risk was associated with higher teacher-child conflict for females but not males. Child IQ predicted teacher-child closeness while gender (male) predicted teacher-child conflict. Exploratory analyses suggest that the specific risk indicators differentially predict teacher-child closeness and conflict. These findings highlight how specific child characteristics and sociodemographic risk factors may be related to teacher-child relationships. Individual and contextual characteristics may impact specific features of the teacher-child relationship, with possible implications for school success.
Faculty Advisors: Ann S. Masten, Regents Professor, and Cara M. Lucke, Graduate Research Assistant
Heinz, Anna R.; Masten, Ann S.; Lucke, Cara M..
Sociodemographic Risk and Teacher-Child Relationships in Children Experiencing Homelessness.
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