Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • The Relationship of Family Processes and Adolescent Moral Thought and Behavior

    Author:
    Shira Hochberg
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The influence of family process variables (cohesion, flexibility, and communication) on ascribed sources of influence on adolescent thought was investigated using White's Family Socialization Model of Adolescent Moral Development. In addition, the relationship between sources of influence and school related behaviors such as disciplinary referrals, unexcused absences, and participation in extra-curricular activities was examinined. Participants included 82 public high school students from grades 9 through 12. Students completed Olson et al.'s (2006) Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale (FACES IV) to measure family process variables and White's (1997) revised Moral Authority Scale (MAS-R) to measure ascribed sources of influence. Students recorded information regarding school related behaviors on a demographic questionnaire. Information pertaining to absences and disciplinary referrals came from student records. Results indicate some significant relationships between family cohesion, flexibility, and communication, and the Family and Equlaity sources of the MAS-R. In addition, the probability of participation in extra-curricular activities was related to Society's Welfare and Self- Interest Sources of moral authority. In conclusion, family process variables have predictive value for ascribes sources of influence on adolescent thought. In turn, ascribed sources of influencesuch as Society's Welfare and Self -Interest have predictive value for school related behaviors such as participation in extra-curricular activities.

  • The Relationship of Family Processes and Adolescent Moral Thought and Behavior

    Author:
    Shira Hochberg
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The influence of family process variables (cohesion, flexibility, and communication) on ascribed sources of influence on adolescent thought was investigated using White's Family Socialization Model of Adolescent Moral Development. In addition, the relationship between sources of influence and school related behaviors such as disciplinary referrals, unexcused absences, and participation in extra-curricular activities was examinined. Participants included 82 public high school students from grades 9 through 12. Students completed Olson et al.'s (2006) Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale (FACES IV) to measure family process variables and White's (1997) revised Moral Authority Scale (MAS-R) to measure ascribed sources of influence. Students recorded information regarding school related behaviors on a demographic questionnaire. Information pertaining to absences and disciplinary referrals came from student records. Results indicate some significant relationships between family cohesion, flexibility, and communication, and the Family and Equlaity sources of the MAS-R. In addition, the probability of participation in extra-curricular activities was related to Society's Welfare and Self- Interest Sources of moral authority. In conclusion, family process variables have predictive value for ascribes sources of influence on adolescent thought. In turn, ascribed sources of influencesuch as Society's Welfare and Self -Interest have predictive value for school related behaviors such as participation in extra-curricular activities.

  • The Development and Validation of a Teacher Efficacy for Inclusion Scale

    Author:
    Ian Hollender
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    Since the 1970's there has been a movement in the United States aimed at increasing the integration of students with disabilities among non-disabled peers in general education classes. The practice of inclusion--full integration of students regardless of the severity of disability--is not uniformly accepted. While many agree with the ideals and intent behind the practice, there is an almost unanimous belief among teachers that they are not sufficiently prepared to instruct and manage students in inclusion classes. There is research indicating that inclusion classes require additional instructional and managerial competencies of teachers' as well as their efficacy beliefs about those competencies. Despite the success of general teacher efficacy measures in assessing important areas of teacher functioning in regular classrooms, their role in inclusion classes have been left unaddressed to date. In the current study, I developed a new teacher efficacy scale--Teacher Efficacy for Inclusion (TEI). The items that comprised this scale were evaluated and modified initially for their face validity by an expert panel of inclusion teachers. The resulting teacher efficacy scale displayed a high level of alpha reliability (.94). Items that showed lower correlations with other items were deleted from the scale. In terms of the factorial structure of the TEI, an exploratory principal components analysis revealed the unitary factor structure of the instrument. The construct validity of the scale was demonstrated by its high correlation (r = .83) with a general measure of teacher efficacy. In terms of the concurrent validity of the TEI, there was significant evidence indicating that this scale predicted the On-Task Behavior of students with educational disabilities. The TEI also predicted teachers' requests for Emergency Support. These two effects of teacher efficacy for inclusion were demonstrated using regression analyses that controlled for the following background variables: Teacher Experience, gender, class size, and level of Push-In Support. These results suggest that the TEI has the potential for reliably and validly measuring teacher's feelings of competence in inclusion classes, and being used to provide teachers with feedback to improve the quality of their instructional practices.

  • The Impact of Serial Migration on the Psychological Adjustment and Academic Performance of West Indian Immigrant Children

    Author:
    Oshika Howell-Whittaker
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    For many years, serial migration, a pattern in which parents migrate first and send for their children at a later date, has become a common way of life for many West Indian immigrant families. This study examined the impact of serial migration on the psychological adjustment and academic achievement of West Indian children. Fifty-two parents of children (aged 7-18) who migrated within the past 10 years participated in the study. Twenty-one of the participants were parents from families who migrated with their children, while 31 were parents from families that migrated before, and were later reunited with their children in the United States. Participants completed three questionnaires comprised of: (1) The Child Behavior Checklist, (2) The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale and (3) a family demographic questionnaire. Each participant was compensated 20 dollars for completing the questionnaires. The results of the study showed that when compared to children who migrate with their families, children who migrate after their parents experience significantly more externalizing behavior difficulties. However, they did not exhibit more internalizing problems, nor were their grades affected. Among the sample of serially migrated families, the study found that it is the mother who typically migrates first leaving the children, and this results in the child demonstrating significantly more externalizing behavior problems after reunion. In addition, the results revealed that children who are reunited into a family with new members also exhibit more externalizing behavior problems than their counterparts. Other findings indicate that parents who are younger and less educated engage in serial migration, while parents who are more educated and older engage in family migration. In terms of family functioning for the sample of participants, the results showed that good family communication significantly reduces the risk of externalizing behavior problems in children following migration.

  • Familial Factors Associated with Symptoms of Depression in Preschool Children

    Author:
    Malka Ismach
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not preschoolers can be identified as at risk for depression, if there was agreement between parents and teachers regarding the symptoms that children display and to identify the familial factors that impact the development of depression in preschool children. Recent evidence suggests that preschoolers have symptoms indicating possible feelings of depression. In order to help these preschoolers, it is important to ascertain the factors associated with the development of depressive symptoms. The research consistently shows that parenting styles, discipline practices, and family functioning impact depression in school age children and adolescents. This study examined the relationship between these factors and depressive symptomatology in preschoolers. Low levels of flexibility and high levels of rigidity in the home were found to have a significant relationship with preschoolers who show signs of depression. Additionally, when all the familial factors were plotted on an ROC curve, they demonstrated the ability to make good predictions about preschoolers who may be at risk for depression. Educational implications of the study as well as limitations are discussed.

  • Familial Factors Associated with Symptoms of Depression in Preschool Children

    Author:
    Malka Ismach
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not preschoolers can be identified as at risk for depression, if there was agreement between parents and teachers regarding the symptoms that children display and to identify the familial factors that impact the development of depression in preschool children. Recent evidence suggests that preschoolers have symptoms indicating possible feelings of depression. In order to help these preschoolers, it is important to ascertain the factors associated with the development of depressive symptoms. The research consistently shows that parenting styles, discipline practices, and family functioning impact depression in school age children and adolescents. This study examined the relationship between these factors and depressive symptomatology in preschoolers. Low levels of flexibility and high levels of rigidity in the home were found to have a significant relationship with preschoolers who show signs of depression. Additionally, when all the familial factors were plotted on an ROC curve, they demonstrated the ability to make good predictions about preschoolers who may be at risk for depression. Educational implications of the study as well as limitations are discussed.

  • PARENTS' MOTIVATIONS FOR INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION

    Author:
    Deborah Jaspen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This study sought to examine parents' motivations for involvement in the education of their 5th through 12th grade children. Using an online version of a questionnaire developed by Hoover-Dempsey, Sandler, and their colleagues (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005; Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler, & Hoover-Dempsey, 2005), this study explored how well Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's revised model of motivations for parent involvement (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005) predicted parents' reports of their home-based and school-based involvement. Predictor variables included parents' perceived role construction for involvement; self-efficacy for helping their children succeed in school; perceptions of general school invitations, specific teacher invitations, and specific child invitations to involvement; and perceptions of personal skills and knowledge and personal time and energy for involvement. Participants included 207 parents of 5th through 12th graders. Regression analysis confirmed that Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's model (1995, 1997, 2005) significantly predicted parents' reports of both home-based and school-based involvement. Role construction and child invitations to involvement were significant predictors of parents' reports of both types of involvement. In addition, parents' perceptions of personal skills and knowledge for involvement significantly predicted reports of home-based involvement, and parents' perceptions of specific teacher invitations to involvement as well as personal time and energy for involvement significantly predicted parents' reports of school-based involvement. There was a trend toward lower levels of reported home-based and school-based involvement for parents of older students. Parents of older students also reported fewer perceived invitations from teachers to involvement, fewer perceived invitations from children to involvement, and lower perceptions of personal skills and knowledge for involvement. This study confirms the utility of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's model of motivations for parent involvement (1995, 1997, 2005) for predicting the involvement practices of parents of 5th through 12th graders.

  • A COMPARISON OF GENERAL AND SPECIAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN TRANSITION: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL SUPPORT ON STUDENT OUTCOMES

    Author:
    Mira Jensen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This dissertation study examined the differences between students in general education and in special education in their perceptions of the types of support they need from different sources during the transitions at the beginning and end of high school. Specifically, this study examined the role of social support in students' behavioral and academic functioning and their postsecondary-school aspirations. General and special education students in 9th and 12th grades (N = 89) completed (1) the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki, Demaray, & Elliott, 2004), (2) the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004) and (3) a brief questionnaire on students' goals and aspirations after high school. Participants' test scores on regularly administered standardized achievement tests measured academic functioning. Overall, there was little variation among participants regarding their perceptions of social support, academic achievement or behavioral adjustment, and post-secondary goals and aspirations, regardless of their age, gender, or educational placement. Social support predicted one aspect of students' behavioral well-being (i.e., personal adjustment). The lack of significant findings may reflect study limitations, particularly sample limitations. Overall, the study's participants attend a school where most of the student body was performing well academically and exhibited behaviors (i.e., attendance) that are important for school success. The study's limitations, suggestions for future research, and implications for school psychologists are discussed.

  • SPECIFICATION OF THE ERROR COVARIANCE STRUCTURE FOR LINEAR MIXED EFFECTS MODELS WITH AUTOREGRESSIVE CHARACTERISTICS: A SIMULATION STUDY

    Author:
    Jimmy Jung
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    This study examines the effects of specifying different error covariance structures on linear mixed models with autoregressive characteristics. Computer simulations were used to generate data varying magnitudes of autocorrelations, sample size, and series lengths. The data were fitted with error covariance structure specifications of compound symmetry, identity, autoregressive lag-1, Toeplitz, and unstructured. The effectiveness of using information criteria to correctly identify the error covariance structures was investigated and the impact of error covariance structure specification on estimates of fixed effects and tests of fixed effects were examined. In addition, a statistical power analysis of detecting the AR(1) autocorrelation parameter was conducted. Results provide recommendations on which information criteria to used for data with autoregressive characteristics, demonstrate how misspecifying the error covariance structure impact tests of fixed effects, and the data conditions necessary to accurately detect the AR(1) autocorrelation parameter.

  • Use of Teacher Rating Scales of Socialization to Discriminate Disability Categories in Preschoolers With Disabilities in Inclusion Placements

    Author:
    Rebecca Kaplan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study examined how teacher rated social competence and adaptive social performance in preschoolers with disabilities enrolled in integrated educational classes differs depending on the child's disability. After obtaining informed consent, mainstream classroom teachers completed a social competence (SSRS-T) and a social adaptive behavior rating scale (Vineland-II) for 76 preschoolers with disabilities in integrated classroom settings. Disability type was identified based on archival review. Results were analyzed controlling for age, SES, and ethnicity, to determine how the number and type of disabilities that a child had related to his or her social competence and social adaptation. The results of the analyses conducted revealed that the children with externalizing behavior problems had significantly more difficulty with their social competence and adaptation than children with other types of disabilities. In addition, children with motor problems also had significantly more difficulty with socialization, however these results did not reach the threshold for statistical significance once controlling for demographic variables. Finally, when the social skills and social adaptation scores were compared to one another, they were found to be related indicating that once the children acquired the social skills they also used them so that the social skills performance deficits were not found exclusive of social skills acquisition problems. This relationship was not however, differentially influenced by the type of disability that a child had so that children with all disability types were identified as utilizing their acquired social skills in accordance with their level of social adaptation regardless of the type of disability exhibited. Implications of these results are discussed and interpreted and recommendations for future study to understand the role of intervention, type of therapeutic services, classroom placement, age of intervention, socioeconomic status and other related factors are made. The practical implications of these results indicate that teacher rating scales of socialization should play an important role in the initial assessment and ongoing evaluation of preschoolers with disabilities. Individual item analysis should be conducted in conjunction with aggregate social assessment in order to provide relevant and specific feedback about the individualized social skills characteristics and needs of each child and how these needs change with intervention. In addition, children with behavioral and motor problems should be given appropriate support to promote effective social performance in their mainstream classroom placement.