Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Natalie Romer, Ph.D.

Keywords

anxiety, depression, school-based mental health, teacher nomination, universal screening

Abstract

As a universal screening method, teacher nominations have been found to both miss and misidentify a substantial proportion of students with internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression (Cunningham & Suldo, 2014; Gelley, 2014; Moor et al., 2007). Although some research has explored the accuracy of teacher nominations when used to identify students with anxiety and depression, no research examined the teacher characteristics that are potentially related to accuracy. The current study conducted a secondary analysis of an archival dataset (Gelley, 2014) to determine which characteristics of teachers (N= 19) are more closely related to accuracy in identifying middle school students (N = 233) with elevated levels of anxiety or depression. Teacher characteristics examined include: teacher self-efficacy beliefs in identifying students with anxiety and depression, teacher acceptance of the general method of asking teachers as a whole to identify students with anxiety and depression, teacher gender, years teaching, and subject taught. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between the aforementioned teacher characteristics and teacher accuracy, defined by the conditional probability indices sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV). The combined predictors explained 38 to 69% of the variance in those indicators of accuracy. Results indicated that in predicting sensitivity, being a language arts or math teacher (as compared to being a social studies teacher), having fewer years of professional experience, and reporting greater acceptance of method may predict higher sensitivity rates. In regards to specificity, higher teacher self-efficacy, being a social studies teacher, being male, and having fewer years of professional experience predicted higher specificity rates. In terms of PPV, having higher acceptance of method and more self-efficacy may explain higher PPV rates. Finally, in terms of NPV, having fewer years of professional experience may explain higher NPV rates. Results from this study may be used to guide collaboration and consultation with teachers in universal screenings, and may inform teacher training programs aimed to increase teacher knowledge and confidence identifying students experiencing emotional distress at school.

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