THE ASSOCIATION OF WORKING ALLIANCE AND CLASSROOM ADJUSTMENT FOR STUDENTS WITH EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS
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Teacher-student relationships can influence the academic, social, and behavioral adjustment of children and youth. Students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) experience poor quality relationships with teachers. The current study explores the importance of working alliance (i.e., agreement on tasks and goals, bond) among teachers and their students. Seventy-six teacher-student dyads completed measures of classroom working alliance, perceptions of the student-teacher relationship, student engagement, and student behavior (i.e., externalizing and internalizing behavior). Findings indicated that (a) students and teachers have weak agreement about the quality of their alliance, (b) working alliance was associated with student engagement, and (c) students’ externalizing symptomology predicted teacher ratings of alliance. Interpretation of these findings, study limitations, and suggestions for future research and practice are discussed.