Award Date

12-1-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Second Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Third Committee Member

Monica Brown

Fourth Committee Member

Therese Cumming

Fifth Committee Member

Michael McCreery

Number of Pages

262

Abstract

School connectedness is the extent to which a student feels that adults and peers on their school campus care about their behavioral and academic success as well as their overall wellbeing. School connectedness is comprised of four factors: (a) bonding, (b) attachment, (c) engagement, and (d) climate. Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) may experience difficulty with developing high levels of school connectedness, which may lead to engagement in health-risk behaviors.

The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of school connectedness of students with EBD and compare them to the levels of their general education peers. A school connectedness questionnaire was created for this study and participants were recruited from elementary, middle, and high schools in a large urban school district. A total of 136 students aged 8 to 18 completed the questionnaire.

The results of the analysis of variance indicated that of the four factors of school connectedness, students with EBD reported significantly lower levels of school bonding than did their general education peers. Students with EBD reported lower levels of school attachment and engagement, but these results were not significant. Students with EBD also reported higher levels of school climate than did their general education peers. The results indicate that students with EBD experience school differently than their general education peers, especially in terms of school bonding.

These findings have implications for teacher education. Teacher education programs should include coursework outlining the development of positive teacher-student relationships as well as coursework to develop the skills needed to teach students with EBD to develop their own positive relationships with their peers. It is through the development of meaningful positive relationships that the outcomes for students with EBD will be improved.

Keywords

emotional and behavioral disorders; school attachment; school bonding; school climate; school connectedness; school engagement

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Language

English


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