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08-11-2019 | Uitgave 2/2020

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 2/2020

Bidirectional Effects Between Callous-Unemotional Traits and Student-Teacher Relationship Quality Among Middle School Students

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 2/2020
Andrea Baroncelli, Enrica Ciucci
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The present study investigated the bidirectional effects between callous-unemotional (i.e., CU) traits, student-teacher relationship quality, and bonds with school. A sample of 301 middle school students (156 girls; M age = 12.96 years, SD = 0.94) completed the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits and the Student-Teacher Relationship Questionnaire, along with measures of both externalizing and internalizing problems, both in the first and second part of the school year (i.e., a time frame of 6 months). They also completed a peer-nominated measure of social preference within their peer group at the beginning of the school year. Results from a cross-lagged panel model suggested that, controlling for measures of both externalizing and internalizing problems, levels of affiliation with teachers were negatively related to levels of CU traits in students with low levels of social preference among peers. Moreover, a synergistic effect of high levels of both bonds with school and social preference emerged in predicting lower levels of CU traits. Similar results emerged with regard to externalizing problems, over and above the role of CU traits and internalizing problems. No effects of CU traits predicting student-teacher relationship quality emerged. Overall, the findings highlighted the teachers’ role as emotion socializers and role models for the students who can promote students’ emotional and relational prosperity over the development of maladaptive outcomes, including CU traits. They also stressed the importance of considering multiple environmental determinants in examining the pathways to CU traits, suggesting the need to integrate and expand previous research on parenting.

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