Too Close for Comfort? Faculty–Student Multiple Relationships and Their Impact on Student Classroom Conduct

Ethics and Behavior 28 (1):23-44 (2018)


Professors are increasingly encouraged to adopt multiple role relationships with their students. Regardless of professor intent, these relationships carry risks. Left unexamined is whether student–faculty social multiple relationships impact student in-class behaviors. Provocatively, our exploratory study provides empirical support suggesting that when undergraduate students perceive that their professors engage in the multiple faculty–student relationships of friendships, drinking relationships, and sexual partnerships, students report they are more likely to engage in uncivil behaviors in the professor’s classroom. Accordingly, our study provides a backdrop against which to think more substantively about the professorial role and the boundaries that accompany it.

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