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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Amy Scott

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Linda Webster


This study examined teacher-student relationships from the perspective of adolescent students. Poor relationships between students and teachers can lead to many negative outcomes, such as school failure and risky behaviors. While this relationship has been analyzed often, it is typically from the point of view of the teacher rather than the student. Individual cognitive appraisals of both efficacy and attribution impact how feedback from teachers is interpreted. Of particular interest is whether individuals attribute academic failures to external sources, such as teachers, which could impact the 5 teacher-student relationship. Determining factors that influence students' perceptions of teachers has implications for both student- and teacher-centered interventions. Data on academic self-efficacy, self-concept, locus of control, and perception of teachers was obtained from a racially diverse population of approximately 500 participants from a Catholic high school in Northern California. Path analysis was used to analyze possible causal relationships. Results indicate that both academic self-efficacy and locus of control significantly impact students' attitudes toward teachers. Locus of control was also found to partially mediate the relationship between academic self-efficacy and perceptions of teachers. Boosting academic self-efficacy will likely improve students' perceptions of their teachers. Attribution retraining is also implicated as an appropriate intervention to improve perceptions of teachers for students with low academic self-efficacy.



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