Supportive Teacher Relationships Reduce Crime Later in Students’ Lives

Supportive Teacher Relationships Reduce Crime Later in Students’ Lives

Young people who have a good relationship with their teacher as a child are less likely to engage in antisocial behavior during adolescence, research shows.

A supportive relationship with a teacher aged 10 to 11 is a protective factor against violence or delinquency for up to seven years later, according to research.

Experts from the University of Edinburgh examined the experiences of 1,483 young people who changed teachers between the ages of 9 and 10.

They identified pairs of young people with similar backgrounds and influences, but who reported different experiences of changing teachers. Each pair had one youth who had a relatively better relationship with their teacher and another who had a relatively worse relationship with their teacher but who were otherwise very similar.

The researchers then compared the levels of delinquency and violence of each couple at three stages, at 13, 15 and 17 years old. The analyzes were carried out on 208 couples at 13 years, 235 couples at 15 years and 194 couples at 17 years.

Data collected when the children were 11 years old was used to assess their relationship with their teacher. At all three age stages, participants also completed questionnaires containing examples of aggressive and anti-social behavior such as home theft, shoplifting or vandalism.

Researchers found that those with better teacher-student relationships at age 11 reported less delinquency up to age 17 than those with worse teacher-student relationships.

Young people with better relationships with their teachers also reported being less aggressive and violent at age 17.

Dr Ingrid Obsuth, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, said: “By controlling for additional potential predictors of teenage delinquency and violence, we were able to provide some of the strongest evidence. stronger to date a link between the quality of teacher-student relationships and, later, delinquency and violence.

“Perceiving the relationship in a positive way and feeling supported and understood by the teacher has the power to protect young people from illegal behavior such as delinquency and violence. “

The study is available here.

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