Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Disciplines

Education

Abstract

Interactions between students and faculty outside of class appear to be linked to greater achievement during and after college (Anaya & Cole, 2001; Hathaway, Nagda, & Gregerman, 2002). However, sometimes there can be blurred personal boundaries and a lack of autonomy in relationships or what has been labeled enmeshment. The purpose of the current pilot study was to investigate the effect of race/ethnicity, gender, year in college, and college major on faculty-student relationships and teacher enmeshment. Teacher enmeshment was measured with the Teacher Enmeshment subscale of the Separation-Individuation Test of Adolescence (SITA; Levine & Saintonge, 1993). A sample of 165 undergraduate and graduate students from education and psychology classes at a small, private liberal arts institution in the Northeast participated. No significant differences among the different demographic groups were found on the total teacher enmeshment score. However, significant differences were found among students with different majors, by gender, and by race on individual items. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are provided.

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