This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Achievement Motivation in High School: The Role of Teacher-Child Relationship Quality from Third Grade to Sixth Grade




Gwynn, Eugenia Parrett

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Using longitudinal data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1,364), the purpose of the current study was to fill a significant gap in the literature on teacher-child relationship quality by addressing several key issues. It sought to address whether closeness and conflict declined from third grade to sixth grade. In addition, it examined both child and teacher characteristics that predicted trajectories of closeness and conflict. And finally, the study aimed to test whether the trajectories of closeness and conflict from third grade to sixth grade predicated achievement motivation in high school. There were four main findings. First, results showed higher levels of closeness in fifth grade for girls, children with low levels of internalizing behavior problems, and children with high social skills. Additionally, teachers with high self-efficacy reported higher levels of closeness. Second, teachers reported having higher levels of conflict in fifth grade with boys, African-American children, and children with high levels externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Third, the rate of change in closeness and conflict was not predicted by any of the variables in the models. And fourth, neither initial levels nor rate of change in closeness and conflict from third grade to sixth grade predicted achievement motivation in high school. However, higher levels of parental involvement at age 15 predicted higher levels of achievement motivation, concurrently.