Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gary Stoner

Abstract

The present study examined the effectiveness of adolescent psychiatric hospitalization-to-school transitions from the perspective of hospital and school-based mental health providers. Twenty-four school-based mental health professionals were surveyed to gain a better understanding of their experiences of reintegrating students to school following brief psychiatric hospitalization, including collaborations with hospital-based providers and contact with students’ parents during and after hospitalization. Fourteen hospital and school mental health providers completed written narrative responses based upon a case vignette to identify ideal transition processes, and also participated in a semi-structured interview to identify barriers to successful transition plan implementation. Data was gathered and examined from a “fidelity of implementation” perspective. The study served three primary purposes, including 1) to provide general knowledge on school mental health staff’s preparedness and competence to implement student transition plans, 2) to identify hospital mental health professionals’ perceptions of important elements of the school transition plan, and 3) to compare the perspectives of hospital and school based mental health professionals regarding the hospital-to-school transition. A mixed-methods approach included analyses utilizing SPSS and NVivo to identify important themes and domains related to the psychiatric hospitalization-to-school transition. Results suggest that hospital and school providers’ confidence in successful transition plan implementation is directly related to the number of available hospital and school resources. There were no differences in the ideal transition plans created by hospital and school providers. Finally, potential transition plan success was directly related to the presence of important transition plan elements, as well as the quality of supports available to ensure implementation as designed.

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