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Influence of problematic child-teacher relationships on future psychiatric disorder: Population survey with 3-year follow-up

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Iain A. Lang, Ruth Marlow, Robert Goodman, Howard Meltzer, Tamsin Ford

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-341
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

King's Authors



Teacher-pupil relationships have been found to mediate behavioural, social and psychological outcomes for children at different ages according to teacher and child report, but most studies have been small. Aims: To explore later psychiatric disorder among children with problematic teacher-pupil relationships. 


Secondary analysis of a population-based cross-sectional survey of children aged 5-16 with a 3-year follow-up. 


Of the 3799 primary-school pupils assessed, 2.5% of parents reported problematic teacher-pupil relationships; for secondary-school pupils (n = 3817) this rose to 6.6%. Among secondary-school pupils, even when children with psychiatric disorder at baseline were excluded and we adjusted for baseline psychopathology score, problematic teacher-pupil relationships were statistically significantly related to higher levels of psychiatric disorder at 3-year follow-up (odds ratio (OR) = 1.93, 95% CI 1.07-3.51 for any psychiatric disorder, OR = 3.00, 95% CI 1.37-6.58 for conduct disorder). Results for primary-school pupils were similar but non-significant at this level of adjustment. 


This study underlines the need to support teachers and schools to develop positive relationships with their pupils.

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