Trust and the Family-School Relationship Examination of Parent-Teacher Differences in Elementary and Secondary Grades

Kimberly S. Adams and Sandra L. Christenson, University of Minnesota, 2000

Trust between parents and teachers is a vital element in building and maintaining the family–school relationship. Parents (n ! 1,234) and teachers (n ! 209) from a first-ring suburban school district were surveyed about issues of trust in the family–school relationship. Results indicated higher levels of parent trust and teacher trust at the elementary level than at middle or high school levels. Additionally, differences in trust levels between teachers and parents at elementary and high school levels were found, with parent trust being significantly higher. Improving home–school communication was identified as a primary way to enhance trust. Also, the perceived quality of family–school interaction was a better predictor of trust than was the frequency of contact or demographic variables. Trust was positively correlated with three indicators of school performance. Implications for school personnel to make more systematic efforts toward building trust between parents and teachers throughout a child’s academic career are discussed.

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