Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


School Psychology

First Adviser

Cole, Christine

Other advisers/committee members

Kern, Lee; Caskie, Grace; State, Talida


This study explored adolescents’ perceptions of relationships with caregivers, teachers, and peers and their impact on school performance. Specifically, structural equation modeling was used to test direct and indirect effects of self-reported perceptions of different types of relationships on school engagement and academic performance for 647 high school students with social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) problems. The results of this study yielded a model with moderately good fit when the general engagement latent construct was split into behavioral disengagement and cognitive engagement variables. In this model, teacher and caregiver relationships significantly predicted cognitive engagement, but not behavioral disengagement or academic performance. Teacher relationships was most strongly related to cognitive engagement and academic performance, while peer relationships was the strongest predictor of behavioral disengagement, although not significantly. Finally, the results showed relationships did not significantly impact academic performance via school engagement.