University of Illinois at Chicago
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Measuring Relationships of Teachers and Students with Emotional Disturbance

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posted on 2017-10-22, 00:00 authored by Jaime L. Zurheide
The Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS), a teacher-reported measure of the quality of the relationship between teachers and their students, has been used in numerous studies of students with and without disabilities from preschool to early adolescence. However, evidence for the reliability, validity, and scale structure is notably lacking for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, for whom positive relationships with adults are critical to preventing poor school outcomes. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the dimensional structure and evidence for reliability and validity of STRS for elementary students with Emotional Disturbance (ED). I accomplished this by (a) testing the factor structure of the STRS for ED students using Exploratory Factor Analysis followed by Confirmatory Factor Analysis; (b) examining evidence for reliability using internal consistency; and (c) examining evidence for validity using concurrent validity measures: a student-reported measure of relationships, teacher- and student-reported measure of behavior, and a teacher-reported measure of ED symptoms. Additionally, this study sought responses from teachers on the social acceptability of the STRS when used with students with ED. Study participants included 79 special and general education teachers and 203 of their students with characteristics of ED. Results from this study provide evidence for the factor structure and reliability of the STRS short-form and a significantly modified version of the STRS long-form. Correlational analyses provided evidence for the convergent and discriminant validity of the STRS Conflict and Closeness subscales but limited support for the Dependency subscale. Teachers and students had limited agreement on the quality of their relationship. For correlations between teacher and student-reports of behavior and relationships, same-rater correlations were much stronger than cross-rater. Teachers generally rated the social acceptability of the STRS high especially when asked about the amount of time needed to complete the measure. Results from this study highlight the need for continued refinement of relationship measures when used with students with ED and additional research examining relationships for this population of students. Results from this study demonstrate importance of including both student and teacher perspectives in research on relationships.



Talbott, Elizabeth


Special Education

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Maggin, Daniel Thorkildsen, Theresa Cushing, Lisa Parker-Katz, Michelle

Submitted date



  • en

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