The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a trauma-informed school-based mental health counseling intervention (TI-SBMHCI) on students enrolled in three Title I elementary schools. This study aimed to examine the impact of a TI-SBMHCI on participants' social-emotional functionality, trauma symptomology, and academic behavior. Counselors-in-training provided a 10-week TI-SBMHCI based off of Bath's (2008) The three Pillars of Trauma-informed Care and data was collected at pretest (first session), mid (fifth session), and posttest (tenth session). In addition, this investigation examined if participants showed greater improvement in academic behavior in comparison to students who did not receive a SBMHCI through the creation of matched sample control group. Results indicated that the participants' trauma-symptomology, social-emotional functionality, and academic behaviors improved over time. Specifically, results of trauma-symptomology per child report exhibited significant decrease in re-experiencing scores (ƞ² = .088), arousal scores (ƞ² = .086), and total trauma symptomology scores (ƞ² = .08). Further, results of trauma-symptomology per parent report exhibited significant decrease in re-experiencing scores (ƞ² = .251), avoidance scores (ƞ² = .180), negative thoughts and feelings scores (ƞ² = .315), arousal scores (ƞ² = .192), and total trauma symptomology (ƞ² = .369). In regard to social-emotional functionality, parents reported significant decreased in internalizing (ƞ² = .236), externalizing (ƞ² = .160), and total problem behavior scores (ƞ² = .211). Similarly, teachers reported significant decrease in the participants' total problem behavior scores (ƞ² = .090). Further, the students who received the 10-week intervention showed a significant decrease in their office discipline referrals (ƞ² = .094). When a matched sample control group was implemented, there was a between-subject effect among the treatment and control group concerning office discipline referrals (p = .042; partial ƞ² = .052) with the treatment group exhibiting greater decrease in office discipline referrals. Implications of the findings include: (a) support for the use of a TI-SBMHCI for children living in low-income communities; (b) evidence that a TI-SBMHCI promotes elementary school students' social emotional functionality, decreases their trauma-symptomology, and improves their academic behavior; and (c) reinforces the importance of trauma-informed counseling within an effective school-based mental health counseling program.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Perleoni, Mary, "A Trauma-informed School-based Mental Health Counseling Intervention to Promote the Social-emotional and Academic Functionality of Children Living in Poverty" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6556.