Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 217–225 | Cite as

Preschool Student–Teacher Relationships and Teaching Stress

  • Sandra Glover GagnonEmail author
  • Timothy J. Huelsman
  • Pamela Kidder-Ashley
  • Ashley Lewis


Teacher stress has a well-established research base, with similar sources of occupational stress reported by teachers at all grade levels. This study examined a proximal source of stress—the student–teacher relationship—as a predictor of stress in preschool teachers. This study is unique in its focus on teaching stress, which occurs in response to working with specific students, as opposed to the more commonly studied teacher stress that results from distal sources such as workload and insufficient resources. We hypothesized that student teacher relationships would predict teaching stress, such that conflictual and dependent relationships would predict high levels of stress and close relationships would predict low levels of stress. Forty-four preschool teachers provided ratings on 72 preschool-aged children on the Index of Teaching Stress and Student–Teacher Relationship Scale. Results of correlational and multiple regression analyses results supported conflict, but not closeness or dependency, as a significant predictor of teaching stress. Practitioners in early childhood settings may use these findings to inform their work with teachers. University training and professional development activities targeting stress and student teacher relationships would benefit teachers, as would consideration of those variables when consulting with teachers about challenging students.


Teaching stress Student teacher relationships Preschool 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Appalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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