Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

John N. Young

Second Advisor

Alan Gross

Third Advisor

Sarah Bilsky

Relational Format



Childhood internalizing disorders traditionally do not garner much attention in academic settings; however, previous research has found that 1 in 4 public school students in Mississippi experiences some form of an internalizing disorder. These disorders strongly affect both behavior (e.g. bullying, school attendance, and social performance) and academic performance (e.g. literacy, mathematical learning). Under several existing pieces of legislature, public schools should already be providing treatment for these disorders; however, few schools have any provisions for the numerous students silently struggling. The primary objective of this study was to investigate teachers’ understanding of internalizing disorders and their frequency in school populations as well as their understanding of the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) of 1975 and its amendments from 1990, 1997, and 2004 as a potential barrier to identifying and supporting students with internalizing disorders. Participants included 40 teachers from 2 top-performing 6A school districts, ranging in teaching grade levels from K- 12. Half of the participants were special education teachers, and the other half were general education teachers. A semi-structured interview adapted from the TARIQ was used to assess teacher demographics and knowledge of topics of interest (Headley & Campbell, 2013; appendix). The findings indicated that teachers generally lack knowledge of internalizing disorders, their typical presentations, or their frequency among students. Furthermore, teachers lack basic conceptual knowledge of IDEA policies and their ramifications toward internalizing disorders. Finally, although special education teachers show significantly more understanding of IDEA policies, neither special nor general education teachers have an adequate understanding of IDEA policies or internalizing disorders relevant to the support and intervention for students with internalizing disorders.


Clinical Psychology



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