457 Student-Teacher Relationships and Health

Research by Kim, Jinho (2021). The quality of social relationships in schools and adult health: Differential effects of student–student versus student–teacher relationships School Psychology, 36(1), 6–16. https://doi.org/10.1037/spq0000373

Written by Robin N. Fatovic M.S.

Can adolescent relationshipsin school have lasting effects on health throughout life?

Health policy researcher, Jinho Kim, reviewed data from a US National Longitudinal study of students grades 7to 12 through adulthood measuring physical and mental health and relationships. He compared siblings with each other to rule out influencing factors of family background, socioeconomic environment, and geneticsknown to impact health.

Results? Adolescents with peer support did not have improved physical, mental health, or substance use in adulthood. However, those peer relationships helped prevent depression in adulthood. More significantly, adolescents with supportive teacher relationships had improved mental health, physical health, and decreased substance use throughout adulthood. Teachers make a difference!

Teachers! You can impact more than students’ academics. You can influence their overall health and success for years to come. Recognize the potential in each student. Help them strive for excellence using their strengths. Schools! Help teachers with supportive communication and interventions to promote healthy teacher-student relationships. Help students having difficulties with teachers to improve these relationships. This enhancement, plus resulting improvement in health, can help them follow their dream sand live a meaningful life!

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