Dependency in teacher–child relationships: deepening our understanding of the construct
Within an attachment perspective on teacher-child relationships three affective relationship dimensions have been identified: closeness, conflict, and dependency. Whereas a lot of research is available on relational closeness and conflict, far less is known about the construct of dependency. In this paper, we aim to further the conceptualization of child-teacher dependency in several ways. First, we define dependency as a relational construct, not a stable child characteristic. Second, we review relevant research on child-parent attachment to guide hypotheses regarding antecedents and developmental consequences of dependency in child-teacher relationships. Third, we provide an overview of attachment-based research on child-teacher dependency, highlighting unanswered questions, such as how its meaning and correlates may vary depending on cultural orientation and child developmental stage. The studies in this special issue address these questions, thereby deepening our understanding of this neglected relationship dimension.