Hess, Robyn

Committee Member

Hulac, David

Committee Member

Peterson, Eric

Committee Member

Welsh, Marilyn


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of School Psychology, School Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



157 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Little is known about the characteristics of special education teachers who work in residential treatment care facilities. The quality of relation between teachers and students beset with histories of abuse, neglect, trauma, or other mental health concerns is seen to be an important aspect to the success of this work. Understanding the attachment histories of teachers working in residential treatment may illuminate the factors that prompt these individuals to persist in this challenging environment. A mixed-methods, convergent-parallel design was conducted with 31 teachers working in residential treatment using the Experience in Close Relationships (ECR) and Teacher-Student Relationship Inventory (TSRI) to examine the relationship between adult attachment style and the student-teacher dynamic. A subset of eleven of these teachers were interviewed using a phenomenological approach to discover five emerging themes among special educators in residential settings. Although no significant relationship was found between teacher attachment style and teacher-student relationship, the five qualitative themes—Disrupted Attachment in Home and School, Reparative Relationship, Personal Growth, Something More and Different, and Rigor, Investment, and Reward—provided a greater depth and breadth of understanding to the development of student-teacher relationships in residential settings.

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Available for download on Wednesday, May 01, 2024