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Clingy Teacher-child relationships

We recently published a new study about "dependent" teacher-child relationships.

The data came from a representative sample collected by the National Institute for Child Health & Development

We used data from over 700 children, their mothers and their teachers

We explored the connections between children’s relationships with their mothers and with their preschool teachers. We then examined how those relationships relate to children’s behavior in elementary school. 

Children who had “dependent” or clingy relationships with their preschool teachers tended to also have difficulties in their relationships with their mothers. In later elementary school, these children were prone to being anxious, withdrawn, and overly shy.

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The results of our study suggest that preschool teachers have the potential to play a pivotal role for these children. 

By being warm and supportive and by encouraging children to explore, preschool teachers may be able to reset the trajectories of children who may otherwise struggle with anxiety in elementary school.

Neuhaus, R., McCormick, M., & O'Connor, E. (2020). The mediating role of child-teacher dependency in the association between early mother-child attachment and behavior problems in middle childhood. Attachment & Human Development.

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