Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Piller, Bonnie


The purpose of this study was to add to the understanding of how teachers impact the emotional and behavioral development of kindergartners. This study looked at teacher beliefs, internal thought patterns about a student whose emotion regulation is immature, the behavior is disruptive, and challenging for his or her teacher. It examined multiple aspects of the teacher’s response to the student’s behavior in order answer the questions: Are the strategies used by the teacher for managing disruptive and challenging behavior consistent with her attachment style? How does this affect the academic trajectory of the student?

Based on results of the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS) and the Teacher Relationship Interview (TRI), the primary findings of the study indicate that most of the teachers participating in the study were engaging with a challenging student from a secure attachment classification. The STRS provided information about the teacher’s concern for the ability of the student to make an adequate adjustment to school. Those students with high conflict and low total scores were most likely to have behavior problems in 2nd grade. Also, the level of stress produced by the highly conflictual relationship was at times destabilizing for the teacher. Depending on whether the attachment status of the teacher was secure-continuous, secure-earned, or insecure, the ability of the teacher to be resilient in the face of the stress was affected.