Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Grych, John

Second Advisor

Kaugars, Astrida

Third Advisor

Gerdes, Alyson

Abstract

Adolescence is a critical developmental period when the risk for developing several mental health disorders and problem behaviors increases. Promoting resilience, which describes healthy functioning in the presence of adversity, can be beneficial to this population (Masten, 2014). Supportive relationships with caring, competent adults contribute to the promotion of resilience in adolescents. Research demonstrates that teachers can serve in this role (Yeung & Leadbeater, 2010). While there is evidence in the literature regarding the benefits of supportive teacher-student relationships for positive youth outcomes and school climate, there is little empirical research on the factors that serve to cultivate these relationships. The current study examined teachers’ perspectives on their role in fostering supportive relationships with their students. Specifically, researchers examined associations among teachers’ beliefs about addressing student mental health needs, operating from a growth mindset, and committing to implementing programs that support student well-being and the school climate more generally, and how teachers’ beliefs were associated with students’ outcomes. It also examined whether longer implementation of a resilience-based program was associated with more positive student outcomes. Results suggested a range of effect sizes among the variables, namely a significant positive correlation among teachers’ (n = 621) and students’ (n = 4793) perspectives on school climate. Additionally, schools with longer duration of the resilience-based program were associated poorer outcomes. Potential explanations and implications are discussed.

Available for download on Friday, April 10, 2020

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