The Role of Teachers' Self-Efficacy Beliefs in the Development of Teacher-student Relationships

Document Type


Publication Date



Educational Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


Prior literature has suggested that teachers who are confident in their abilities to teach, assess, and manage classroom behavior may be more likely to engage in practices that lead to supportive and secure relationships with students. The current study investigated the trajectories of teacher-student relationships, examining the extent that teacher self-efficacy beliefs predicted ratings of conflict and closeness for 885 students from second to sixth grade. The trends of teacher-student closeness and conflict were modeled using a parallel curve of factors approach, controlling for teacher-student racial and gender alignment prior to examining the extent that teacher self-efficacy beliefs influenced closeness and conflict across grades. Results from the parallel trajectories suggested that teacher-student conflict was stable from second to sixth grade, while teacher-student closeness demonstrated a declining curvilinear trend. The relationship between teacher-student conflict and closeness suggests that students with relatively high levels of conflict in second grade were likely to exhibit sharper declines in closeness over time. Across grades, teachers were more likely to rate being closer to racially and gender similar students and experiencing more conflict with students who were racially different or a different gender. Teachers who reported more confidence in their ability to instruct, manage, and promote a positive climate were more likely to report higher ratings of closeness across grades and lower levels of conflict at later grades with students. These findings contribute to the literature regarding the role of teacher self-efficacy in teacher-student relationships. We discuss how teacher self-efficacy beliefs can be developed and leveraged to improve relationship quality in the classroom from a social cognitive perspective.

First Advisor

Daniel Hajovsky

Second Advisor

Steven Chesnut

Research Area

Counseling & Psychology in Education

This document is currently not available here.