Teachers' Perceptions of Conflict with Young Students: Looking beyond Problem Behaviors


Bridget K. Hamre, University of Virginia, PO Box 800784, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0784. Email: bkh3d@virginia.edu


Teachers' judgments of relational conflict are unique indicators of children's academic and social adjustment. Using a large, hierarchically nested sample of preschoolers (N = 2282) and teachers (N = 597) this study examines the individual and classroom factors associated with teachers' ratings of conflict, both before and after adjusting for problem behaviors ratings. Over half of the variance in teachers' reports of conflict with children was explained by ratings of children's problem behaviors. However, many children had more (or less) conflict than predicted based on teacher-rated problem behavior. Older children were more likely to have conflictual relationships with teachers than expected based on their level of problem behavior. Furthermore, teachers who reported more depression and lower self-efficacy and teachers who were observed to provide less emotional support in the classroom tended to report more conflict with students in their classroom than expected based on levels of problem behaviors.