This study examined how self-worth of students mediated and moderated their perceived positive teacher-student relationships and student engagement among middle-school students from rural China. Eighth graders (N = 838) completed surveys measuring their perceived relationships with teachers, their self-worth, and engagement. Statistical analyses revealed significant correlations among all three variables, with the strongest being between teacher-student relationships and student engagement. The structural equation modeling indicated that self-worth partially mediated the effect of teacher-student relationships on student engagement; however, positive teacher-student relationships were a stronger predictor. Multigroup analyses identified self-worth as a moderator, whereby students with lower self-worth were more reliant on positive teacher-student relationships to enhance their engagement. This study provides insights into how self-worth of students and their perceived positive teacher-student relationships influence their academic engagement in disadvantaged rural areas of China.
- rural schools
- student engagement
- student learning
- teacher-student relationships