Sluggish cognitive tempo and student–teacher relationship quality: Short-term longitudinal and concurrent associations.

Although sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is associated with poorer peer functioning, no study has examined SCT in relation to student–teacher relationship quality. The current study examined whether SCT, as rated by both teachers and children, was uniquely associated with poorer student–teacher relationship quality above and beyond child demographics and other mental health symptoms (i.e., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder [ODD/CD], anxiety/depression). Gender was examined as a possible moderator of the association between SCT and student–teacher relationship quality. Participants were 176 children in 1st–6th grades and their teachers. Teachers rated children’s SCT and other mental health symptoms in the fall semester (T1) and the student–teacher relationship (conflict and closeness) 6 months later (T2). Children provided self-ratings of SCT at T2. Above and beyond age, gender, and other mental health symptoms, teacher-rated SCT at T1 was associated with greater student–teacher conflict at T2. This association was qualified by a SCT × Gender interaction, with SCT associated with greater conflict for girls but not boys. Further, child-rated SCT was also associated with greater teacher-rated conflict, above and beyond covariates. In addition, teacher-rated SCT at T1 was the only mental health dimension to be significantly associated with less student–teacher closeness at T2. Findings extend the social difficulties associated with SCT to the student–teacher relationship, an important relationship associated with children’s academic and socioemotional outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)