Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



Witte, A. L. (2015). Parent-Teacher relationships across community types. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Susan M. Sheridan. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Amanda L. Witte


Children with social-behavioral problems are at high risk for developing long-term, pervasive adjustment problems. Home–school relationships may be critical to alleviating the negative effects of behavior problems and to fostering student success. The environment or community in which homes and schools are situated represents an important influence on the home–school relationship. Despite the evidence supporting positive parent–teacher relationships and the association between community context and educational practices and student outcomes, little is known about the relation between community context and parent–teacher relationships. The manner in which cumulative risk factors and child behavior problems influence the link between community type and parent–teacher relationships also remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there were differences between parent–teacher relationships across different community types (i.e., rural, town, city) for students who display disruptive behaviors. Furthermore, this study investigated whether differences in the association between parent–teacher relationships and community type were influenced by the presence of cumulative risk factors and severity of child behavior problems. Results indicated there was a significant overall effect of community type on teacher-reported parent–teacher relationships (p< .0003). Specifically, teacher-reported parent–teacher relationship scores were significantly higher for city teachers relative to those in towns and rural schools. However, town and rural teacher scores did not significantly differ from one another. There was no significant overall effect of community type on parent-reported parent–teacher relationships. The relationship between community type and parent–teacher relationships was not significantly influenced by cumulative risk or behavior severity for this sample. The results of this study advance the parent–teacher partnership research literature by specifically uncovering a significant link between community type and parent–teacher relationships, an area that has not been previously explored. Behavioral interventions that incorporate relevant contextual information may be most effective in addressing student behavioral concerns leading to improved outcomes for students.

Advisor: Susan M. Sheridan