Date of Conferral







Anthony Perry


The teacher-student relationship is an important dynamic in student engagement. Higher education retention strategies include the teacher-student relationship as a focus. The present study focused on the attachment style of the teacher and the impact that it has on student engagement. The theoretical basis for this study was Bowlby’s attachment theory. Student engagement, both behavioral and academic, was measured after 9 weeks of a semester in general education classes. A quantitative design was used to determine the relationship between the teacher’s attachment style and student engagement. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze the results. Significant differences were found between secure and insecure teacher attachment styles for control and relevance of schoolwork, F (1, 55) = 5.089, p = .028, η² = .085, and extrinsic motivation, F (1, 55) = 6.965, p = .011, η² = .112. These findings suggested that students in classrooms taught by teachers with a secure attachment style had higher levels of control and relevance of school, which showed that those students had higher levels of understanding related to the expectations of the coursework and their ability to complete the assignments to meet the course requirements. Those students also had significantly higher levels of academic engagement specific to extrinsic motivation. That is, those students were more likely to believe that they would be rewarded through grades and academic success. The findings in this study may lead to positive social change by creating teacher awareness around how their behavior impacts student engagement. For institutions, the results of this study may be used to increase both student success and institutional effectiveness by incorporating training modules into teacher training that addresses teacher attachment style.