Students’ Perceptions of Social Relatedness in the Classroom: The Roles of Student-Teacher Interaction Quality, Children’s Aggressive Behaviors, and Peer Rejection

Open Access
Madill, Rebecca Anne
Graduate Program:
Human Development and Family Studies
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 25, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Scott David Gest, Thesis Advisor
  • Thomas W Farmer, Thesis Advisor
  • teacher-child interaction quality
  • Student-teacher relationship
The present study examines the roles of classroom characteristics (teacher-child interaction quality) as well as child characteristics (aggression and rejection) in children’s perceptions of social relatedness in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms. Results from a series of multilevel models suggest that supportive teacher-child interactions are associated with children’s perceptions of greater support from their teachers and peers. Children’s feelings of loneliness were not associated with teacher-child interaction quality at the classroom level, though reports of loneliness were higher among children with lower peer social preference. Aggressive children and boys perceived less-supportive relationships with their teachers. Though analyses are not longitudinal, they suggest that classroom-level factors, particularly teachers’ interactions with students, may affect children’s sense of relatedness to teachers and peers above and beyond the influence of children’s individual characteristics.