Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology vol:37 issue:3 pages:588-599
In recent developmental theorizing, it has been hypothesized that teacher-child conflict and children’s externalizing behavior affect one another reciprocally over time. However, the relation between teacher-child conflict and externalizing behavior has been mainly studied from a unidirectional point of view. Therefore, the present study aimed to test the hypothesis of bi-directionality by means of a cross-lagged longitudinal design with kindergarten teacher reports on core variables at three measurement occasions in one year. Structural equation modeling with data of 148 kindergartners provided evidence for the hypothesis of bi-directionality. Specifically, results supported a transactional sequence in which children’s aggressive behavior at the beginning of kindergarten led to increases in teacher-child conflict mid-year which, in turn, led to an increase of aggressive behavior at the end of the kindergarten school year.