Paraprofessional and Teacher Relationships in Working With Students With or At Risk of Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Briana Bronstein, Linda A. Reddy, Todd A. Glover, Nicole B. Wiggs, Christopher M. Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Limited research has been conducted examining the relationship between paraprofessionals and teacher supervisors. This study examined 175 paraprofessionals of students with or at risk of disruptive behavior disorders who reported relationships with classroom teachers in 59 U.S. elementary schools. Overall, paraprofessionals rated their relationship with their classroom teachers as positive. Differences in relationship qualities were examined in relation to paraprofessional race/ethnicity, level of education, years of experience, and school economic status (i.e., percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch). Results indicated that Latinx and Black paraprofessionals reported lower overall relationship quality with their classroom teachers than White paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals with more years of experience, in general, reported better relationship quality and communications with their classroom teachers; no differences were found for educational level. Negative correlations ( r s = −.25, −.26) were found between relationship qualities and school economic status. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


  • classroom relationships
  • disruptive behavior disorders
  • paraprofessionals
  • teachers


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