Author

Melissa Webb

Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Knight

Second Advisor

Pearl Berman

Third Advisor

Lisa Newell

Abstract

Disruptive behavior in children is the most common reason for seeking mental health services (Keenan & Wakschlag, 2000; Robins, 1991) and often carries over into the child’s academic environment. Teacher beliefs and behavior can ameliorate or exacerbate behavioral problems in the classroom (Buyse, Verschueren, Doumen, Van Damme, & Maes, 2007; Hamre & Pianta, 2001). Teacher education in childhood behavioral disorders and classroom management varies widely (Arcia, Frank, Sanchez-LaCay & Fernandez, 2000), as state and program requirements differ (Freeman, Simonsen, Briere, & MacSuga-Gage, 2014). Increasing teachers’ knowledge of behavior disorders has been shown to increase teacher self-efficacy, and lead to attributions for behavior problems to a child’s disorder, rather than the child’s disposition, which increases the number of positive interventions utilized in the classroom (Andreou & Rapti, 2010; Jones & Chronis-Tuscano, 2008; Poulou & Norwich, 2002). Although there are many validated teacher training programs that provide instruction in positive interventions and education about behavioral problems, they tend to be expensive and time consuming. Therefore, alternative programs that require fewer resources and are consequently more accessible, should be explored.

The purpose of this study was to develop and administer an intervention that provides education about common behavioral disorders, as well as evidence-based strategies to address related problems in the classroom in a convenient format. The aims of the current study were to increase teacher knowledge of ADHD and ODD and self-efficacy in classroom management, as well as modify attributions for child behavior to increase positive intervention selection. Due to difficulty with in-service teacher recruitment, education students were included as participants. Results showed that the intervention significantly increased knowledge in ADHD for females and ODD for both genders, as well as ratings of self-efficacy. Additionally, gender appeared to mediate attributions to disorder factors, such that more females than males reported attributions to disorder factors following the intervention. Lastly, participants significantly increased their preference for positive interventions in response to an ADHD vignette, as well as increased their perception of effectiveness of positive interventions in reference to an ODD vignette. Possible explanations for the results, future directions, and limitations are also discussed.

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