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Determining the Operative Elements to Improve Parent-Teacher Relationships During Conjoint Behavioral Consultation

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Shannon Holmes

Co-Principal Investigators: Susan Sheridan

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Society for the Study of School Psychology

Award Date: May 15, 2015

End Date: May 14, 2015


A historic and convincing body of literature suggests interventions with the goal of building partnerships between families and schools are effective for addressing childhood social-behavioral concerns and academic delays. One family-school partnership program that consistently yields positive effects in experimental small-n and randomized controlled trials is Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC).

CBC is an indirect model of service-delivery that seeks to remediate childhood behavior problems and improve adaptive functioning by enhancing positive relationships between families and schools. Through partnership-oriented interactions, consultants guide parents and teachers (i.e., consultees) through an individualized problem-solving cycle comprised of joint, data-based decision-making; consistent, coordinated implementation of evidence-based interventions; and shared responsibility for positive child outcomes.

One component of CBC that has been extensively studied is the parent-teacher relationship. Empirical support confirms positive parent-teacher relationships as necessary for CBC to promote children's prosocial behavior. However, the effectiveness with which partnership-oriented strategies are used by CBC consultants– — and the interpersonal dynamics among parents and teachers that help shape these productive relationships– — remain unexplored. 

The purpose of this study is to:

  1. Determine whether CBC consultants’ effective use of communication strategies during problem-solving interactions with parents and teachers predicts positive reports of their relationships
  2. Determine whether parents’ and teachers’ shared interactional qualities predicts positive reports of their relationship.
  3. Drawing from two existing randomized controlled trial databases, 200 collaborative, problem-solving meetings will be coded to gauge CBC consultants’ effective use of partnership-oriented communication strategies and the degree to which parents and teachers demonstrate shared interactions. A multilevel moderation analysis will be implemented to explore whether consultants effective use of partnership-oriented communication strategies during problem-solving interactions with parents and teachers predicts the quality of the parent-teacher relationship, as well as the extent to which consultees' displays of shared interactions moderates this association.

This research will advance theoretical and empirical understandings of CBC. Within CBC, research that disentangles the parent-teacher relationship is necessary. Specifically, examining the effective use of strategies and the conditions that support positive relationships between parents and teachers could directly inform school psychological practice by providing clinicians and educators with tools that can be used to help strengthen relationships during CBC.

Research, Measurement and Evaluation Methods, Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being, Early Childhood Education and Development, Academic Intervention & Learning