Child Effortful Control, Teacher-student Relationships, and Achievement in Academically At-risk Children: Additive and Interactive Effects. Academic Article uri icon


  • The joint contributions of child effortful control (using inhibitory control and task accuracy as behavioral indices) and positive teacher-student relationships at first grade on reading and mathematics achievement at second grade were examined in 761 children who were predominantly from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds and assessed to be academically at-risk at entry to first grade. Analyses accounted for clustering effects, covariates, baselines of effortful control measures, and prior levels of achievement. Even with such conservative statistical controls, interactive effects were found for task accuracy and positive teacher-student relationships on future achievement. Results suggest that task accuracy served as a protective factor so that children with high task accuracy performed well academically despite not having positive teacher-student relationships. Further, positive teacher-student relationships served as a compensatory factor so that children with low task accuracy performed just as well as those with high task accuracy if they were paired with a positive and supportive teacher. Importantly, results indicate that the influence of positive teacher-student relationships on future achievement was most pronounced for students with low effortful control on tasks that require fine motor skills, accuracy, and attention-related skills. Study results have implications for narrowing achievement disparities for academically at-risk children.

published proceedings

  • Early Child Res Q

author list (cited authors)

  • Liew, J., Chen, Q. i., & Hughes, J. N.

citation count

  • 158

complete list of authors

  • Liew, Jeffrey||Chen, Qi||Hughes, Jan N

publication date

  • January 2010