The protective role of teacher–student relationships against peer victimization and psychosocial distress

Michael L Sulkowski, Jessica Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether teacher–student relationships protect against peer victimization and its negative psychosocial effects (i.e., depression, anxiety, and stress). Additionally, the influence of teacher–student relationships, peer relationships, and students’ perceptions of school order and discipline was investigated as these variables were expected to be negatively related to the former. Data were collected from high school-aged adolescents (N = 539; 51% female) in the U.S. Southwest. Study results indicate that teacher–student relationships buffered against experiencing psychosocial distress associated with peer victimization. Although positive teacher–student relationships, peer relationships, and students’ perceptions of school order and discipline all were negatively associated with peer victimization and psychosocial distress, teacher–student relationships were robustly related to peer victimization and psychosocial distress over the influence of the previous variables. In other words, as a key study finding, teacher–student relationships may reduce the impact of peer victimization by mitigating its negative psychosocial effects in a robust yet relatively unexplored way. Therefore, although more research is needed, fostering positive teacher–student relationships might be an effective way to reduce peer victimization as well as its negative effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Peer aggression
  • Peer relationships
  • School connectedness
  • School order and discipline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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