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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parents as partners : perspectives of school supports in parents of adolescents with internalizing disorders Carter, Alexandra


The purpose of this study was to identify, describe, and categorize the experiences of child and family school supports in parents of adolescents with internalizing mental health concerns. Few studies have asked parents about their experiences with their child’s school, particularly in relation to their child’s mental health needs. Furthermore, the needs and involvement of parents of youth with internalizing disorders have not been examined specifically at the secondary school level, where academic and other school-related requirements may differ from elementary school. This research was conducted to add to the limited literature in understanding the school-based needs of parents of youth with internalizing disorders. Eleven parents of adolescents diagnosed with an internalizing disorder were interviewed and asked about aspects of school support that they perceived as being helpful or hindering to their child or family. Data were analyzed using the enhanced critical incident technique (ECIT; Butterfield, Borgen, Maglio, & Amundson, 2009), which has been adapted from Flanagan’s (1954) critical incident technique (CIT). Critical events (n=215) were recorded and sorted into emergent unitary clusters based on content analysis. These categories were subjected to rigorous reliability and validity checks including analysis by another researcher, calculation of interrater agreement, and participant feedback. This process yielded seven categories that represented the participants’ experiences of school support. The categories were: Individualized Support, Communication Between Home and School, Understanding and Support, a Team Approach, A Safe Place at School, Having an Advocate in the School System, and Understanding Mental Health. Participants were asked to generate a wish list of supports they would find helpful if available. Thirty-one wish list items were generated by eight of the participants. Wish list items embodied four categories, which were: Counselling and Learning Supports, Resources and Services, Communication, and Professional Development.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada