Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Kyongboon Kwon

Committee Members

James W Topitzes, Karen C Stoiber, Bo Zhang

Keywords

Barriers, Implementation, Intervention, School Psychology, Trauma, Trauma-focused

Abstract

Two out of every three children will experience a traumatic event before the age of 16 (APA, 2008). Due to a variety of barriers, many of these children will not receive the mental health treatment and support they need (GAO, 2009). Researchers have identified School Psychologists as the primary school-based mental health professionals to provide services in schools (Jaycox et al., 2007). The present study aimed to better understand the prevalence of childhood trauma, analyze the factors that lead to increased intervention implementation for School Psychologists, and identify factors that decrease the negative association between barriers and implementation frequency of school-based trauma-focused interventions. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) served as a theoretical framework, which identifies four factors (Beliefs, Perceived Competence, Knowledge, and Social Norms/Expectations) that lead to increased engagement in a desired behavior (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen et al., 2011). The results indicated that barriers were negatively associated with intervention implementation and that all four TPB factors were positively associated with intervention implementation frequency. However, none of those factors moderated the relation between barriers and implementation frequency. Based on these results, school psychologists should focus on professional development that increases their knowledge, increased their competence, and instills belief in a given intervention. Also, it is important that school districts and school administrators work to promote an environment and culture that promote a trauma-informed approach to education. It may be necessary for school psychologists to advocate for this approach and for professional development to increase their own personal factors that are associated with increased implementation frequency. Lastly, the TPB factors likely play an important role in predicting implementation frequency as the magnitude of the positive correlation between TPB factors and implementation frequency was greater than the negative correlation between barriers and implementation frequency.

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