TitleTeacher-child closeness as a protective factor for at-risk children experiencing residential mobility
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSchmitt, SA, Mihalec-Adkins, BP, Pratt, ME, Lipscomb, ST
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Pagination28 - 37
Date Published07/2018


  • Residential mobility was not significantly related to behavior problems.
  • Teacher-child closeness predicted fewer behavior problems.
  • Teacher-child closeness moderated relations among mobility and externalizing behaviors.

The current study explored the extent to which teacher-child closeness during prekindergarten moderates the association between residential mobility and behavior problems in kindergarten for children living in non-parental care. Data were obtained from the Head Start Impact Study. The sample included 260 children (53% male) who were eligible for Head Start. On average, children were 48.57 months old (SD = 6.95), and were 42% Anglo-American, 40% African-American, and 18% Hispanic-American. Results indicated that teacher-child closeness during prekindergarten was negatively related to behavior problems in kindergarten. Further, although residential mobility was not directly related to behavior problems in kindergarten, teacher-child closeness was a significant moderator between moving and externalizing, but not internalizing, problems. These findings suggest that closeness with teachers may help to curb the impact of mobility on externalizing problems during the transition to kindergarten for children in non-parental care. Implications for future research and intervention development are discussed.


Short TitleJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology