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02-11-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 4/2020 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2020

How do Adolescents’ Perceptions of Relationships with Teachers Change during Upper-Secondary School Years?

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2020
Sevgi Bayram Özdemir, Metin Özdemir
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The student-teacher relationship has mostly been assumed to be static. This approach is limited in providing information on how relationships with teachers evolve over time, and how possible changes affect young people’s adjustment. To address this gap in knowledge, the present study examined whether adolescents follow different trajectories in their perceptions of relationship with teachers and whether students on different trajectories differ from each other in their adjustment. The sample included 829 students residing in Sweden (Mage = 13.43, SD = 0.55, 51% girls). Three distinct teacher-relationship trajectories were identified. More than half (66%) of the adolescents (average-stable trajectory) reported an average level of positive relationships with teachers at grade 7, and did not change significantly over the three years. About 24% of the adolescents (high-increasing trajectory) reported a high level of fair and supportive teacher-relationships at T1, and continued to increase in their positive views from grade 7 to grade 9. Ten percent of the adolescents (average-declining trajectory) reported an average level of positive relationships with teachers at grade 7, but showed a decline in their positive views towards teachers over time. Relative to adolescents on an average-stable trajectory, adolescents on a high-increasing trajectory reported greater school satisfaction, higher achievement values, and lower failure anticipation. By contrast, adolescents in the average-declining group reported worsening school adjustment. No significant moderating effects of immigrant status and gender were found. These findings highlight the importance of the association between the continuous experience of supportive and fair teacher treatment and youth adjustment.

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