Teachers’ attachment orientations and children’s school adjustment: Evidence from a longitudinal study of first graders

Uri Lifshin, Inbal Binyamin Kleinerman, Phillip R. Shaver, Mario Mikulincer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine the contribution of teachers’ attachment orientations to the teacher–child relationship and to children’s adjustment to school during first grade. We sampled 539 first-grade children and their homeroom teachers (N = 58), measured teachers’ attachment orientations and children’s attachment to mother at the beginning of the academic year, and followed children’s perceptions of their teachers’ responsiveness and their socioemotional adjustment to school from the beginning to the end of the year. Teachers’ attachment-related avoidance was associated with changes in children’s perceptions of their teachers’ responsiveness and changes in school adjustment during first grade. These prospective effects of teachers’ avoidance on children’s adjustment occurred regardless of variations in the children’s attachment to mother. However, most of the effects depended on the extent to which a child perceived his or her teacher to be a nonresponsive caregiver. Overall, the findings reveal the critical role of teachers’ attachment orientations in shaping children’s adjustment to school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-580
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • Adjustment to school
  • attachment
  • first grade
  • loneliness
  • responsiveness
  • sense of coherence
  • teacher–child relationship

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