Good Teacher-Student Relationships Can Prevent Kids From Turning to Crime

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.

The bond teachers form with their students may actually affect future crime rates. A new study out of Scotland suggests that children who have a good relationship with their teachers are less likely to engage in anti-social behavior as they grow up. Study authors discovered that having a supportive relationship with an educator between the ages of 10 and 11 protects against engagement in violence or delinquency for up to seven years.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh examined the experiences of 1,483 young people who had a change of teacher between the ages of nine and 10. They identified pairs of young people with similar backgrounds and influences, but who reported different experiences after switching teachers. Each pair had one young person who had a better relationship with their teacher and one who had a worse relationship with their new teacher.

Researchers then compared each pair’s levels of delinquency and violence at ages 13, 15, and 17. In total, study authors looked at 208 pairs at age 13, 235 pairs at age 15, and 194 pairs at age 17. The team used data collected from when the children were 11 years old to assess their relationship with their new teachers.

At the three different age milestones, the participants completed questionnaires about their aggressive or anti-social behavior such as stealing from home, shoplifting, or vandalism. Results show those with a better quality of teacher-student relationships at age 11 reported fewer delinquent acts up to age 17 than those with worse relationships. The young people with a better relationship with their teacher also reported being less aggressive and violent at age 17.

The findings appear in the journal Crime & Delinquency.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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