Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Jina Yoon


The purpose of this study was to examine the qualities of support, relatedness, and negative interaction within parent-child and teacher-student relationships and their association with cognitive, psychological, and behavioral engagement. Additionally, this study explored the contributions of cognitive and psychological engagement on behavioral engagement. The role of gender, grade, and ethnicity on relationship quality and engagement was also considered. Participants (n=311) were students in grades three through five from a suburban school district in southeastern Michigan. Perceptions of teacher-student relationship quality varied by grade level. In general, younger students reported greater teacher support and relatedness in comparison to older students. Conversely, older students perceived greater conflict within the teacher-student relationship. Student engagement also varied by grade level, with younger students reporting greater engagement than older students. Ethnicity also contributed to variance in student engagement, with African American students reporting significantly more engagement than Caucasian or Multiracial students. Teacher-student relationship quality was a significant predictor of student engagement, even after controlling for student characteristics and parent-child relationship variables. Results of path analysis revealed that cognitive and psychological engagement contributed significantly to behavioral engagement.