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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Mixed-Method Program Implementation: Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program in a Medium-Sized Suburban School District
by Gross, Jennifer, Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2016, 166; 10125127
Abstract (Summary)

While many educators viewed transition as a one-time event, it often proved to be more of a process than simply an occasion (Cohen & Smerdon, 2009). The researcher observed through the role as a school counselor that students with high anxiety tended to exhibit low resilience during times of transition. In order to assist students as they moved from eighth to ninth grade, the school of study implemented the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program (OOLSP) using student mentors. This study explored student perception of anxiety and resilience in relation to participating in this program. The researcher utilized the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) and Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS) as pre- and post-tests, and conducted a z-test for difference in means analysis. Attendance rates were studied, due to the high correlation found in research between attendance and achievement, using a Pearson Product Moment Correlation analysis. Perception questionnaires were completed in December and May by 287 freshmen, 45 mentor students, 16 teachers, and 315 parents. Interviews were conducted with 10 freshmen, nine student mentors, and six teachers.

Results from the surveys and perception questionnaires proved inconsistent. The SCAS scores indicated a significant change in student anxiety levels, especially on the generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder subscales. Interestingly, students’ perceived anxiety decreased based on questionnaire responses. Results from the CD-RISC suggested students’ resilience did not change, while responses from the questionnaire showed a significant increase in students’ perceived resilience. Attendance rates had a moderately strong relationship, indicating a correlation between eighth and ninth grade attendance. Perceptions from freshmen, student mentors, teachers, and parents suggested that the relationships formed during the program implementation had more influence than the program itself.

Based on the inconsistent results, the researcher recommended discontinuing the use of the OOLSP, as it was implemented in this study. The researcher recommended maintaining the mentoring program and improving upon pre-existing structures. Future researchers were encouraged to conduct further exploration on the OOLSP using more traditional implementations, as well as investigating student-perceived anxiety and resilience in comparison to documented experiences of anxiety and resilience.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leavitt, Lynda
Commitee: Alsobrook, Joseph, Wisdom, Sherrie
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, School counseling
Keywords: Life skills, Resilience, Transition
Publication Number: 10125127
ISBN: 978-1-339-83220-3
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