Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. H. Thompson Prout

Abstract

Research indicates the potential utility of schools as sites for service delivery of mental health interventions. The application of solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) within the school domain is reflected in the child psychotherapy literature. Findings on the use of SFBT in school settings suggest that it may be well suited to school contexts given its time-efficient, goal-directed, and strengths-based behavioral approach.

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of SFBT with at-risk youth in an alternative school setting. The researcher utilized a multiple case study design to examine the impact of a 6-session SFBT intervention on adolescent behavioral outcomes. Six students were randomized to one of three baseline conditions and received the SFBT intervention following baseline data collection. Data were obtained from multiple raters at baseline, posttest, and 6-week follow-up. In addition, students completed self-reported ratings at the beginning of each SFBT intervention session. Data were evaluated using non-regression approaches and visual analyses.

Preliminary results indicated that four out of six students exhibited reliable change (6-point increase in post-ORS mean scores), and four out of the six students demonstrated clinically significant change (baseline ORS mean scores below the adolescent clinical cutoff of <28). Results also indicated a decrease in total problem behavior scores at posttest for all informants on a normed assessment of emotional and behavioral functioning. Follow-up data were collected for four out of six students, and results suggested that this decrease in ratings was maintained or decreased further across all raters for three out of the four student participants. Overall, preliminary results indicated the potential utility of SFBT with at-risk youth in an alternative school environment. Strengths and limitations of the current study, as well as additional research aims (e.g., impact of therapist alliance, fidelity monitoring in SFBT) and future research areas are also presented.

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