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The role of interactions with teachers and conflict with friends in shaping school adjustment


Social Development

Published online on


Fifth grade children (N = 346) identified school friends and reported on levels of conflict in relationships with these friends as well as perceived stress in relationships with teachers. Teachers and children provided ratings of problem behaviors at school, and children reported on their own perceptions of stress at school. Both less conflictual school friendships and less stressful relationships with teachers were linked with fewer feelings of stress and lower levels of problem problems at school. For the problem behaviors outcome, having more positive relationships with one set of others (teachers or friends) buffered children from experiencing negative consequences of poor relationships with the other set of individuals. The interaction effect involving friendship conflicts and stressful teacher interactions in relation to school stress was more complicated, differing for boys versus girls.