Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Andrew T. Roach, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kris Varjas, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

David E. Houchins, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Daniel B. Crimmins, Ph.D.

Abstract

Transition plans and services can have positive benefits on post-school outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities (ID). School psychologists have much to contribute to the transition process, but previous studies have indicated they often have limited involvement in this domain. A national survey was conducted to assess school psychologists’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in regards to transition services for students with ID. Respondents included 176 practicing school psychologists from 21 states. Based on Ajzen’s (1985) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the survey used in the study focused on school psychologists’ transition-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. To understand the role of school psychologists in transition services for students with ID, data collection and analyses addressed (a) the underlying factor structure of the transition survey; (b) the relationship between school psychologists’ frequency of involvement in transition services and their self-reported transition knowledge, attitudes towards transition activities, and background experiences; and (c) the relationship between school psychologists' perceived importance of transition tasks and their transition knowledge and background experiences. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to verify the survey’s factor structure, and three factors supporting the TPB framework were identified: Knowledge, Attitude, and Behaviors. Scores for the instrument and subscales demonstrated acceptable reliability. A backward multiple regression was conducted with transition involvement as the criterion variable and respondents’ self-reported transition knowledge and attitudes, and background experiences as predictor variables. Attitude, knowledge, and previous experience with the ID population were found to be significant predictors of performance of transition tasks, accounting for 63.9% of the variance combined. A backward multiple regression also was conducted with attitudes toward transition as the criterion variable and respondents’ self-reported transition knowledge and background experiences as predictor variables. Knowledge was found to be the only significant predictor of respondents’ attitudes, accounting for 26.9% of the variance. Implications for practice and policy include increasing school psychologists’ specific knowledge of transition services and transition needs of students with ID, evaluating graduate programs and school districts’ openness towards school psychologists performing transition tasks, and advocating for special education reform to modify the roles and responsibilities of school psychologists.

Share

COinS