Associations between child and teacher characteristics and quality of teacher-child relationships: The case of Hungary

Bernadett Koles, Erin E. O'Connor, Brian A. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the current study was to investigate variations in teacher-child relationships in childcare classrooms in Budapest, Hungary (N = 172 children in 43 classrooms), and to examine whether variations were associated with child and/or teacher characteristics. In addition, cultural variation was examined with reference to an American comparison group (N = 36 children in nine classrooms). Teacher-child relationships were found to vary in the in levels of closeness, conflict and over-dependence. There was more variation within as opposed to between classrooms, indicating that child attributes play an important role in teacher-child relationships. Girls had better relationships with their teachers than boys, characterised by higher levels of closeness and lower levels of conflict. Higher levels of shyness were associated with more conflicted teacher-child relationships for boys, and less conflicted ones for girls. Teachers with higher levels of neuroticism and depression tended to report more conflicted relationships with children. Hungarian teachers reported more closeness in their relationships with younger children, whereas American teachers reported higher levels of relationship closeness with older children. Hungarian teachers reported higher levels of over-dependence of the children in their classrooms than did American teachers. Educational implications as well as limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-76
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Child development
  • Early childhood education
  • Hungary
  • Relationship quality
  • Teacher-child relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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