Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School Psychology

First Adviser

Kern, Lee

Other advisers/committee members

Cole, Christine; Woodhouse, Susan; Dever, Bridget V.

Abstract

Childhood mental health problems have become an increasingly recognized concern, leading to an increased research focus on evidence-based treatments and effective models of service delivery to meet these mental health needs (Kazdin, 2011). However, researchers have argued that while the research on evidence-based treatments and implementation have increased, the research on mechanisms underlying these interventions has lagged behind despite the promise that studying these mechanisms holds for improving interventions and implementation (Nock, 2011). One promising mechanism of change is the psychological flexibility model, which is a transdiagnostic theory of mental health that cuts across different psychological conditions as well as other conditions such as medical concerns that have associated psychological distress. However, psychological flexibility has, to date, largely been studied with the adult population and has limited research support among children and adolescents. The current study explored the factor structure of psychological flexibility among a population of adolescents with social, emotional and behavioral problems (SEB) as well as the relationship between psychological flexibility and demographic variables, mental health and school functioning variables to further the research on psychological flexibility among adolescents. A total of 73 high school students from Pennsylvania participated in this study. The results indicate that psychological flexibility is a unidimensional construct similar to the construct as used within the adult population and has strong reliability. Additionally, psychological flexibility was found to significantly predict quality of life (QoL) and peer support for learning (school engagement). However, demographic characteristics did not significantly predict psychology flexibility and psychological flexibility did not significantly predict behavioral symptoms and other student engagement subscales.

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