School psychologists' knowledge of family violence and their identification of children from violent homes

Anne Maile Lamoureux, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

This study assessed school psychologists' knowledge of family violence. Three major questions were addressed: (1) Does a school psychologists' educational, specialized training and perceived experience level affect their knowledge about family violence symptomology, risk factors and facts? (2) Does a school psychologists' educational, specialized training and perceived experience level affect their assessment of a child's risk level and choice of an intervention? (3) Do the age, gender, and behaviors of a child influence participants' assessment of the child's risk level and their choice of an intervention? A random, national sample of school psychologists was mailed the instrument. Information was collected about participants' demographics and their knowledge of family violence, as well as their perceptions about risk levels and interventions for children from violent homes. Three hundred and ten usable surveys were returned. Results indicate that the higher the level of experience of the participant, the more correct responses they gave to questions about general knowledge of family violence, and recognizing symptomology of children from violent homes. Most of the respondents (24.5%) held Master's Degrees in School Psychology and 79% worked in traditional schools. The number of years participants had practiced as School Psychologists varied from one to thirty-six. Participants with specialized training were more likely to give higher risk ratings to children from violent homes. Participants holding degrees in school psychology had more correct scores on questions about risk recognition than did most other participants, the exception being participants holding Master's Degrees in areas other than school psychology, who received the highest number of correct responses. Neutral behaviors of children were rated at lower risk than internalizing or externalizing behaviors. Neutral behaviors were also listed as being less likely to be monitored, reported to the principal or Child Protective Services than internalizing or externalizing ones. Elementary-aged girls perceived at-risk were more likely than boys to be referred to the principal, whereas junior-high-aged boys were more likely to be referred than girls. Except for elementary-aged boys displaying externalizing behavior, overall, internalized behaviors are most likely to result in a referral to the principal. Implications for training and prevention programs are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Anne Maile Lamoureux, "School psychologists' knowledge of family violence and their identification of children from violent homes" (2001). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3025563.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3025563

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