Citation
A comparison of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals

Material Information

Title:
A comparison of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals
Creator:
Gallardo-Cooper, Maria Isabel, 1950-
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
x, 202 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Child psychology ( jstor )
Cognitive models ( jstor )
Medical personnel ( jstor )
Mental health ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Professional meetings ( jstor )
Professional schools ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Counselor Education thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF ( lcsh )
Brevard County ( local )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1997.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 178-201).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Maria Isabel Gallardo-Cooper.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact the RDS coordinator (ufdissertations@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
028675727 ( ALEPH )
39107318 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text






A COMPARISON OF THREE DIFFERENT HOME-SCHOOL MEETING FORMATS
CONDUCTED BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
















BY

MARIA ISABEL GALLARDO-COOPER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1997














I dedicate this dissertation to my family. As a youth, I learned in a retreat that

"true" love is best defined as sacrifice and consistency. My history with my family, past and present, exemplifies "true" love. The constant giving from my parents, my brother, my husband, and my children continues to enrich my life.

I owe my interest in helping people and my pursuit for learning to my parents, Ignacio and Oti Gallardo. Together they instilled in me a strong sense of respect and caring toward all people. My mother, the greatest optimist, taught me to find goodness in all individuals, to value humility, to overcome obstacles, and to reach for the stars. My father, the best storyteller, taught me the art of humor, the power of gentleness, the energy of creativity, and the satisfaction with hard work. Both nourished my talents at all costs to them and taught me how to do "true" love. My only brother, Ignacio, an accomplished professional in his own right, expresses wonder even with the smallest of my accomplishments. He is also my close friend and supporter.

My loving husband George provides me with the necessary daily dosage of

support. The beauty of sharing a marriage history surpasses the many life tasks we have shared together. His solid reliability and constant encouragement ensured the completion of my goals as a "family project" and once more strengthened our partnership.
My two children, Nisa and Jonathan, set the balance in my scale of life's priorities. They were my cheerleaders. Nisa's loving affection and infinite patience enlightened me to the joys of having a special daughter like her. Jonathan's sense of humor and dynamic personality help me refine my goals. My children make me appreciate my role as a mother and my mission to embark on the challenges of "true" love.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


The completion of this life task would not have been made possible without the help of many "real life angels."

I will always be thankful to my chairperson, Dr. Joe Wittmer. His caring support, solid advocacy, and powerful guidance created the column that supported me for many years. My heartfelt appreciation goes to him for believing in me and never letting go of my hand throughout the journey.

My sincere gratitude is extended to my committee members who facilitated the dissertation process. Dr. Janet Larsen has made me appreciate the strength of unconditional caring and encouragement as well as serving as a model of how to maximize my role as a woman. Dr. Cecil Mercer has been my enthusiastic teacher, providing me with valuable feedback and positive redirectives. Dr. Max Parker expressed his support by communicating his trust in my judgment and my ideas.

Special thanks are extended to my employer, Circles of Care, Inc., of Brevard County, Florida, in particular, Dr. Barry Hensel, Clinical Director, for his consistent support of my professional growth and his generous decisions to support my dissertation regardless of the extensive hours required. I want to express my immense gratitude to my colleagues and friends, Dr. Roger Kyser and Dr. Kari Mottarella, for their genuine support during the project. Carol Rieder's help was also instrumental throughout the years.









The Circles of Care's mental health professionals who participated in the study proved to be hard-working, efficient, and highly invested in the completion of the experimental stages. To Margaret DeFrancisi, Louise Goetz, Ellen Eyseck, Dick Campbell, Judith Seigler, Tracy McKinney, Sherrie Arflin, John Lee, Dale Eshelman, Barbara Brown, Ashley Turner, Carmen Andino, Jerry Gumby, and Janet Hruzzo, thanks once more.

Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to the mothers and teachers who

participated in the study. In particular, I want to underscore my gratitude to the Brevard County School Board for allowing the investigation to become a reality.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


pDg.

DEDICATION ..............................................................................ii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................ iii

ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................ ix


CHAPTER

I INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1

The Home School Interface ................................................................. 3
Theoretical Constructs Underlying the Study ........................................ 6
Statement of the Problem ........................................................................ 11
Purpose of the Study ........................................................................... 12
Approach of the Study ......................................................................... 13
Research Questions .............................................................................. 15
Definitions of Terms ........................................................................... 16
Overview of the Remainder of the Paper ............................................. 18

II LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................................. 19

Review of the Home-School Relationship .......................................... 19
Teacher Factors ......................................................................... 20
Parental Factors ......................................................................... 22
System Factors ......................................................................... 23
Meetings Between Parents and Teachers ............................................ 25
The Parent-Teacher Conference ............................................... 26
The Multiple Participants Meeting ............................................ 28
The Family-School-Mental Health Professional Meeting .......... 31
Counseling model ........................................................... 32
School consultation model .............................................. 33
Family therapy model ...................................................... 36
Theoretical Foundations of the Study .................................................. 38











Eco-systemic Theory ..................................................................... 38
Empowerment Models ............................................................. 40
Problem-solving model ........................................................ 44
Solution-focused model ................................................. 48
Comparative Studies ........................................................................... 54
Support for the Need for the Study ................................................... 59
Home-School Interface ............................................................ 59
Population Characteristics ........................................................ 60
Mental Health Services in the Schools ..................................... 62
Psychotherapy Treatment Models ............................................ 63
Research Status ......................................................................... 63
Support for the Approach of the Study ............................................... 64
Attitudinal Research .................................................................. 65
Dyadic Research ....................................................................... 66
Psychotherapy Research ........................................................... 67
Support for the Measures of the Study ............................................... 69
Session Evaluation Questionnaire ............................................. 69
Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire ..................................... 70
Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory ............................................ 71
Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory .............................. 72
Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey .............................. 73
Summary............................. ....... ........ 74

II METHODOLOGY

Overview of the Study ......................................................................... 76
Delineation of Relevant Variables Being Studied .............................. 76
Treatment Variables ................................................................. 76
Solution-focused treatment variable ............................... 78
Problem-solving treatment variable ................................ 79
No format/no training variable ........................................ 80
Dependent Variables ................................................................. 80
Session Evaluation Questionnaire ................................... 81
Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire ........................... 82
Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory ................................... 84
Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory .................... 85
Home-School Meeting Satisfiction Survey ..................... 86
Description of the Population ............................................................. 87
Description of the Sampling Procedures ............................................ 88











Selection of Research Participants ...................................................... 89
M other and Teacher D yads ...................................................... 90
M ental H ealth Professionals ...................................................... 91
D escription of the Resulting Sam ple ................................................... 91
Description of Research Design ........................................................ 93
N ull Hypotheses .................................................................................. 95
Description of Research Procedures .................................................... 97
Circles of Care ........................................................................... 97
Brevard County School Teachers ............................................. 98
Research Procedures ............................................................... 98
Description of D ata Analysis ................................................................. 100


IV RESU LTS ............................................................................................. 101

Evaluation of the M eeting V ariable ....................................................... 101
Perceptions of Com petence V ariable ..................................................... 106
Ratings of Children's Problem s V ariable ............................................... 111
Home-School Meeting Satisfliction Variable ......................................... 116
Level of A greem ent V ariable ................................................................. 121
Sum m ary of Results .............................................................................. 123

V DISCU SSION ....................................................................................... 125

Sum m ary ............................................................................................... 125
D iscussion of Results ............................................................................. 125
Im plications .......................................................................................... 127
Theoretical Considerations .......................................................... 127
Problem -solving approach ................................................. 127
Solution-focused approach ................................................ 128
Em pow erm ent construct ................................................... 129
Research Im plications .................................................................. 130
Practical Im plications .................................................................. 132
Lim itations ............................................................................................. 133
Generalizability of Findings ......................................................... 133
Conceptual Definitions ................................................................ 133
Design ......................................................................................... 134
Dem ographic V ariables ............................................................... 134
M easures ..................................................................................... 135
M issing D ata ............................................................................... 135
Recom m endations for Future Research ................................................. 136









pgwe


APPENDICES

A COMPARISON OF TREATMENT MODELS .................................... 138

B CONTRAST BETWEEN SCHOOL MEETINGS
AND COUNSELING .............................................................................. 139

C SOLUTION-FOCUSED TRAINING ..................................................... 141

D PROBLEM-SOLVING TRAINING ...................................................... 143

E HOME-SCHOOL MEETING INTERVIEWS ....................................... 145

F DEPENDENT MEAUSURES ............................................................... 156

G LETTER S .............................................................................................. 168

H MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS PROCEDURES ................... 176

I INSTRUCTION FOR PARTICIPANTS ................................................ 177


REFER EN C ES ......................................................................................................... 178

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................................................................... 202
















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A COMPARISON OF THREE DIFFERENT HOME-SCHOOL MEETING
FORMATS CONDUCTED BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS By

Maria Isabel Gallardo-Cooper

December 1997



Chairman: Paul Joseph Wittmer, Ph.D. Major Department: Counselor Education

In this study mental health professionals conducted home-school meetings with mothers and teachers of elementary school children with behavioral problems. Each of the sixty-six pairs (N=66) of mothers and teachers met for one half-hour. Three home-school meeting formats were compared: (a) solution-focused, (b) problemsolving, and (c) control using a traditional method. The effects of these different formats were measured in five areas: outcome evaluation of the home-school meeting, perceptions of competence, ratings of child behaviors, level of agreement, and level of satisfaction. Nine null hypotheses were tested by two randomized control group experimental designs that included pre-test and post-test measures and post-test only measures.












Results indicated that the home-school meeting was a positive experience for mothers and that the problem-solving approach was significantly superior over the other two formats. Across the three treatment conditions, mothers found the meeting to have more depth and value than did teachers. Following the meeting, mothers in the problem-solving group perceived teachers and themselves as more competent and rated their children's behavioral problems as less intense.

The majority of participants rated the home-school meeting above average in satisfaction. However, there were no statistical differences found between mothers and teachers or by approaches in levels of satisfaction and levels of agreement. In addition, no significant differences were observed with teachers in any of the dependent measures used in this study.

The findings supported the involvement of mental health professionals in timelimited home-school meetings. The favorable effects found with mothers who received the problem solving approach may lead mental health professionals to consider this home-school meeting format as a direct parent-oriented intervention. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.















CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION


Adult-focused interventions are necessary to children. Attention to bringing
the adults in children's lives together makes sense because children do not have control over important aspects of their lives, and everyone's behavior
depends in part on the behaviors of others (Conoley, 1987, p. 199).


Epidemiological findings indicate that one quarter of the population are minors and 12 to 15 percent of this group have a "diagnosable mental illness" (Carlson, Paavola, & Talley, 1995; NIMH, 1990). As Doll (1996) reports in her comprehensive review, these figures may be underestimated. She concludes that poor design of epidemiological research may have miscalculated the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children by up to fifty percent.

Regardless of the exact number of children in need for mental health services,

scholars are seriously concerned with the failure to meet children's psychological needs in our communities (Hoberman, 1992) and schools (Carlson et al., 1995; Christenson, 1995a). Experts agree problems are compounded for children with psychological disorders because they require comprehensive (Barkley, 1990; Epstein, 1988) wellintegrated (Lusterman, 1992), multi-agency services (Weiss & Edwards, 1992; Young, 1990).

In the schools, responding to the needs of children with emotional problems has been problematic (Carlson et al., 1995) and many believe the needs of today's children cannot be










solely met by the schools (Christenson, Rounds & Franklin, 1992). Not surprisingly, school personnel resources are restricted. Carlson et al. (1995) found the ratio between students and school professionals to be significantly high. Understandably, school professionals report on the limited amount of time available to respond to work demands (Leitch & Tangri, 1988) and to initiate family oriented interventions (Sheridan & Steck, 1995).

Furthermore, mental health agencies have failed to serve families and children with emotional problems. In service utilization studies (NIMH, 1990), minors are grossly underrepresented and researchers report on the higher than average premature termination of child treatment (Gaines & Stedman, 1981; Haskett, Nowlan, Hutcheson, & Whitworth, 1991; Trautman, Stewart, & Morishima, 1993). Considering the millions of youth who are not served in outpatient agencies, the waste of limited financial resources, and the risks of loss of human life, these findings are alarming. Instead of increasing ambulatory services, the trend has been to overutilize more restrictive services requiring children to be separated from their families and their communities (Hoberman, 1992; Tuma, 1989).

As financial resources from the private and government sector decrease, innovative approaches are appearing to address children's psychological needs (Adelman, 1993). The emergence of mental health service delivery in the schools is a logical response to the well-established fact that children's learning is jeopardized when they exhibit mental health problems (Doll, 1996; Webster-Stratton, 1993) and seems to provide a new paradigm for a broader system of care for families (Doll, 1996).

While in recent years, several comprehensive school-based mental health programs have been implemented with success (Apter, 1992; Merril, Clark, Varvil, Van Sickle, & McCall, 1992; Paget & Chapman, 1992; Shriver & Kramer, 1993), the development of










major programs may not be necessary. Increasing the therapeutic impact of traditional school procedures may benefit the psychological well-being of children and families just as well. The parent-teacher conference is an example of a well-established and commonly utilized communication ritual between home and school. The ultimate goal this collaborative interaction is to optimize children's educational and psychological functioning. Analyzing and improving this face-to-face encounter may shed light on the elements that enhance collaborative and empowering practices between parents and teachers (Christenson, 1995a).



The Home-School Interface

There are many substantial reasons for the current promotion of strong fEmily and

school connections. First, the results of extensive educational and psychological research attest to the value of parental involvement in students' school work as predictive of their improved achievement (Christenson et al., 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fish, 1990). Second, such laws as Public Law 99-947 mandate the incorporation of the fEmily in the development of educational plans for children with special needs (Ware, 1994). Third, proponents of educational reform advocate for incorporation of the fEmily and community in the educational milieu (Carlson et al., 1995; Epstein, 1988). Fourth, practice directives recommend the maintenance of vital connections among all school and outside professionals involved with children (American Psychological Association, 1993, 1994). Lastly, empirical research supports the need to implement child interventions in multiple settings in order to maintain treatment gains (Barkley, 1990; Kelley, 1990; Sheridan & KratochwiU, 1992; Webster-Stratton, 1993).









Despite the current interest in building home-school collaboration (Christenson & Conoley, 1992; Fine & Carlson, 1992), little experimental knowledge is available on the nature of the parent-teacher relationship (Vickers & Minke, 1995) and process variables that impact on collaborative efforts (Christenson et al., 1992; Erchul, Hughes, Meyers, Hickman, Braden, 1992). Even less is known about the collaborative relationships among professionals working with students and their families (Ware, 1994) as well as the value of parent-teacher meetings as an intervention.

Moreover, there are several reasons why collaboration is not an easy process to implement. There is documentation attesting to the fact that mental health professionals lack information on school system dynamics and do not have the knowledge needed to effectively access resources in the educational community (Lusterman, 1992). Many professionals in the helping and medical fields lack training in communication and collaborative skills (Christenson, 1995a; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Sloper & Turner, 1993). Often school attempts at collaboration often are described as superficial or not genuinely established (Carlson et al., 1992). To remedy these deficiencies, Greenwood and Hickman (1991) propose training teachers in parental involvement skills.

In addition, the problems parents face can compound the problems of home-school collaboration. With ftmilies of children with behavioral problems, the partnership between home and school is not easily established (Slade, 1990). The adults who live and work with these children comprise a special population in need of increasing school support and assistance (McCamey, 1986). Instead of help, the home-school interactions of these parents are often characterized by the placing of blame and shame (Carslon et al., 1992). Consequently, this group tends to experience significant levels of stress (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990),










avoid school collaborative efforts (Sheridan, 1993), and report conflict in their conferences with teachers (Leicht & Tandri, 1988).

Because schools may have trouble dealing with them, children who exhibit emotional and behavioral problems are often referred to mental health professionals, a trend known as "outsourcing," and one of the most common reasons for out-patient counseling referrals (Schwartz & Johnson, 1985). An extension of ambulatory services is the inclusion of outreach mental health services sponsored by community agencies and private practitioners. This is a fairly recent venture by schools for treatment of troubled children and finilies (Weiss & Edwards, 1992).

Given mental health professionals' expertise with children and families in crises, their role is seen as crucial in expanding therapeutic opportunities in all realms of child treatment practices (Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). Current practices in child mental health are increasingly incorporating school-based clinical services and new service delivery models such as the "full-service school" underscore the need for the integration of the family in the treatment of children as the school becomes the center of health and human services delivery (Carlson, Paavola, & Talley, 1995). With the present shrinking of finds for private and public health care services, some child mental health professionals are developing more active roles in the schools (Crespi & Fischetti, 1996; Gutkin, 1995).

One area worthy of further consideration for the expanded use of mental health

professionals is that of the parent-teacher conference. Incorporation of therapeutic approaches based on brief therapy models seems very practical considering the time limitations imposed on parent-teacher meetings. Because it is estimated that, on average, parents and teachers meet









at most twice during the school year, often parent-teacher conferences are a "one-shot" experience (Chrispeels, 1988). Thus, the parent-teacher conference could be said to parallel a brief time-restricted, one-session therapy (Budman & Gurman, 1988). Application of recent advances in brief therapy strategies, especially those linked with empowerment and competence, might enhance the results of this type of home-school interface.

Because the parent-teacher conference is a long-standing school ritual, methods that

may improve this traditional mode of home-school interface with populations at risk may prove practical and cost-effective. However, only limited empirical data support its collaborative efficacy. In response to the lack of information, this researcher explored the effects of different parent-teacher conferences based on competence-based models and conducted by a mental health professional. Due to the active role mental health professionals played in conducting these conferences, the terminology was changed from parent-teacher conference to homeschool meeting.



Theoretical Constructs Underlying the Study

This study is based on constructs borrowed from five theoretical models: (a) systems theory (Conoley, 1987; Minuchin & Fishman, 1981; Plas, 1986, 1992); (b) ecological theory (Anderson, 1983; Apter, 1992; Brofenbrenner, 1979; Carlson & Hickman, 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fine, 1992); (c) solution-focused theory (de Shazer, 1985, 1988; Dunst, Johanson, Rounds, Trivette, & Hamby, 1992; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989); (d) cognitive-behavioral problem-solving theory (D'Zurilla, 1986; Robin & Foster, 1989; Sinnott, 1989); and (e) social validation construct (Wolf 1978).









It is possible to structure these theoretical constructs in terms of their relevant impact to this study. First, systems theory has its origins in physics and biology (Plas, 1992). It assumes that organisms function within an organized unit with active interactions and interdependence between its elements or parts. Changes in one part of the unit triggers a series of changes that affect and interact with other parts of the unit. Consequently, the whole is more important than its individual parts.

Families and schools are separate systems. Both have specific rules, parts, and sets of interrelating elements. Under this assumption, children are not perceived in a linear fashion. Rather they are beings, whose behavior is dependent directly or indirectly on their fimily system (Doherty & Pesky, 1992). To understand children, knowledge about the systems children interact with or belong to is imperative (Conoley, 1989). Problems are reflections of systems not individuals. Relationships are understood as dynamic, not static, in nature, reciprocal, not linear. The focus is on sequences and patterns rather than concrete units of behavior and change is more important than cause (Minuchin & Fishman, 1981).

Weeks and L'Abate (1982) differentiated between "first order change" and "second order change." In "first order change," the outlook is linear, person-focused, similar to the implementation of behavioral interventions. Changes in behavior are understood as "second order changes." As systems interact and integrate positively, the child's behavior improves and gains are maintained; that is, the child changes as a result of other system changes. Clearly a home-school meeting is an example of an intervention at the system's level and not directly at the child's level









The second theoretical framework applied to the present study is ecological theory, based on the work of Brofenbrenner (1979, 1986). This model adds to the systemic position since it explains the relationship between multiple systems. Human development is affected by the simultaneous interactions among four levels or ecosystems: (a) the microsystem (relationships between individuals in one specific environment: family, school, peers), (b) the mesosystem (interactions between two microsystems: home-school), (c) the exosystem (specific outside systems or individuals: government agencies, parental employment), and (d) the macrosystem (the general impact of cultural and institutional patterns that affect other systems: neighborhood, city).

Because systems theory and ecological theory complement each other, many in the field have opted for what they call an eco-systems framework (Carlson, 1992; Fine, 1992; Lusterman, 1992). In this study, the home-school meeting is conceptualized from this perspective. The goal is to mitigate the reportedly strained relationship between systems, here the mesosystem of teachers and parents who have children with behavioral problems.

The third model underlying this study is the solution-focused brief therapy approach (de Shazer, 1984, 1985; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989; Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974). Solution-focused treatment has its roots in the works of Milton Erickson and Gregory Bateson (de Shazer, 1985). These theorists perceived human nature as non-pathological, people have the internal resources to resolve problems. This view of human behavior has been incorporated into psychotherapy models by Berg and Miller (1992) de Shazer (1984, 1985), and O'Hanlon and Weiner-Davis (1989).









Important assumptions of this model include the systemic perspective that problems result from interactions within a system and that small changes can produce significant results (Kral, 1992). The focus is the identification of strengths and positive coping patterns, rather than pathology. By becoming aware of what works, individuals apply these positive repertoires to existing difficulties. The ultimate intervention, therefore, is to reframe problems into solutions (Carlson et al., 1992).

It is important to note that the concept of reframing is used by other schools of psychotherapy, including cognitive models. In this study, refraiming is conceptualized in phenomenological terms (Fine, 1992; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989) which have their foundation in post-modem constructivism thinking led by Milton Erikson and Greogory Bateson. Refraining is defined as a change in an individual's view of an event from negative to positive. Thus, interventions that bring about changes in the viewing of the problem, subjective reactions, and attitudes can trigger a ripple effect of other positive changes.

The solution-focused approach relies on to two specific practice realities:

empowerment and time. Because parents of children with behavioral problems consistently experience high levels of stress, depression, shame, and guilt (Barkley, 1990; Collins & Collins, 1990; Ellenberg & Lanier, 1984; Leitch & Tangri, 1988), an approach that focuses on strengths seems to have potential for increasing collaboration. In addition the reported strained relationship between parent and teacher may benefit as well from communication that reduces or excludes blaming and discouragement (Carlson et al., 1992). Based on a brief therapy approach, the solution-focused model adapts to time limitations (Adams, Pierce, & Jurich, 1991) and may be a partial solution to the "time restrictions" reported by school staff









The fourth theoretical position underlying this study is the social framework of the problem-solving model (D'Zurilla, 1986; Sinnott, 1989). This interpersonal problem-solving model is characterized by "ill-structured" problem definition, is contextually dependent, and is based on subjective interpersonal interactions (Luszcz, 1989; Sinnott, 1989). Resolving students' problems in a parent-teacher conference has similarities to the everyday, interpersonal problem-solving model Because it involves different processes, this view contrasts with the highly defined problems found in cognitive problem-solving experimental studies (Meacham & Emont, 1989). According to Luszcz (1989), experimental cognitive models of problem-solving have well-structured problem definition but little relevance to ecological validity and the pragmatics of life.

D'Zurila's (1986) interpersonal problem-solving model is derived from several areas: creativity research findings, social competence construct, stress transactional theory, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Similar to the solution-focused approach, this theoretical framework is conceptualized from a human competence perspective. It is "defined as a cognitive-affective-behavioral process that results in the discovery of a solution to a problem" (D'Zurilla, 1986, p. 14).

Thus, individuals change because they can generate solutions to problems, have

acquired necessary coping skills, apply a positive orientation to problems, and follow a specific sequence of goal-oriented tasks that lead to problem resolution (D'Zurilla, 1986). It is the relevance of this latter aspect of the problem-solving model that will be investigated in this study. This sequential approach has been successfully applied to different populations









(Jacobson, 1984; Robin & Foster, 1989) and multiple forms of school services (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990; Shure, 1993).

Lastly, this study borrows from the emerging consumer-based model of service

delivery. Based on the construct of social validity (Wol 1978), researchers and clinicians alike have become interested in the clients' level of acceptability and satisfaction with treatment (Kazdin, 1980; Reimers, Wajcer, & Koeppl, 1987). This construct is seen by some as atheoretical but based on accountability needs, while others see it as based on constructs borrowed from attribution theory, social-attitudinal change, and psychological reactance theory (Cross-Calvert & Johnston, 1990; Paget, 1992). An understanding of attitudes toward treatment strategies, therefore, are crucial whenever implementing innovative treatment interventions or developing treatment programs (Cross-Calvert & Johnston, 1990; Reimers et al., 1987).



Statement of the Problem

Currently, the paucity of experimental research on collaborative parent-teacher efforts is termed alarming by Christenson (1995b) and Sheridan and Kratochwill (1992). There is a desperate need to develop innovative strategies to engage uninvolved parents (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992), to learn about variables that impact on the parent-teacher relationship (Vickers & Minke, 1995), and to produce effective home-school interventions for students with behavioral problems (Evans, Okifuji, Engler, Bromley, & Tishelman, 1993).

The parent-teacher conference is a well-established form of home-school

communication, but lacks empirical data on its effectiveness as a treatment intervention. As









mentioned previously, the limits on time and the demands for results from the traditional parent-teacher conference parallels the single session brief therapy approach. Neither examples of applications of brief-therapy models nor the impact of mental-health professionals on any type of home-school meeting are found in the educational or psychological literature. Few, if any, studies using the mental health professionals as agents of collaboration have been conducted on parents and teachers of children with behavioral problems.

Similarly, limited information is available on the degree of treatment satisfaction derived from parent-teacher conferences or home-school meetings. Studying the implementation of time-limited, empowering methods in the home-school relationship of behaviorally disordered children may enhance the outcome of the many interventions these children require. If it can be demonstrated that differently structured home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals improve the outcome of parent-teacher interactions, then implementing changes in such interactions may be an improvement over current practices.




Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of brief therapy techniques to empower individuals and accelerate change. The effects of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals were studied. These formats were: solution-focused; problem-solving; and non-structured format or control. In particular, the impact of these competence-building therapeutic methods were studied with a population described in the literature as problematic in terms of home-school collaboration. Because the









parents of children with behavioral problems are consumers of psychological services, it was important to study the effects of different home-school meeting formats on treatment satisfaction. In addition, to elicit the parents' and teachers' subjective evaluation of the meetings and their perceptions of competence and competence of the other participant contributes to evaluating collaborative efforts. For this reason, gathering data to measure the level of agreement reached by the mother/teacher dyad added important information on how these empowering models impact on collaboration. Learning the ways parents respond to different types of home-school meetings as treatment interventions could be helpful to school and mental health practitioners with treatment and educational planning.




Approach of the Study

In the design of this study, the researcher recognized the multilevel processes in human interaction. Successful home-school meetings depend on a multitude of factors. However, if the goal is to establish a method that increases the probability of change utilizing a collaborative format, there is a need to examine process variables that impact in a single meeting. This position is supported by psychotherapy outcome research (Elliott, 1995; Elliott & James, 1989). Thus, variables impacting on such collaboration processes as attitudes and subjective evaluations are key processes to explore (Arnold, Michael, Hosley, & Miller, 1994; Christenson, 1995b).

The researcher assessed the effectiveness of three different formats of home-school

meetings conducted by mental-health professionals. Two were competence formats, one based on brief therapy (i.e., structured solution-focused) and the other based on cognitive and









behavioral approaches (i.e., structured problem-solving). These two were then compared to home-school meetings lacking any particular format. This non-format type of conference represented the traditional, unstructured format used by mental health professionals in an advocacy role. The first structured format followed relevant principles of the solution-focused brief therapy model such as focus on strengths and identification of solution patterns. The second structured problem-solving format focused on a sequence of goal-oriented tasks often used in behavioral consultation (Bergan, 1977, 1995; Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and interpersonal problem-solving strategies. Because the goal of these two treatment models was to improve the efficiency of problem resolution within a time-limited framework, it was particularly relevant to the goals and time restrictions of home-school encounters.

As noted, formats to be compared in this study were: (a) the solution-focused homeschool meeting, (b) the problem-solving focused home-school meeting, and (c) the control group, the home-school meeting without a structured format. All three types were conducted by a mental health professional (MHP) who met with a mother and teacher. The two groups of MHPs conducting the experimental conditions received extensive training in either the solution-focused or problem-solving approach while the MHPs in the control group did not receive any supervision or training. In addition, the two groups of MHPs in the experimental conditions followed a structured interview format during the home-school meeting that reflected their assigned treatment approach. Subjects consisted of both mothers and teachers of students receiving regular instruction who exhibited behavioral problems.

Treatment effects were measured in five areas: subjective evaluation of the session, perceptions of competence, perception of the child's problem, satisfaction with the home-









school meeting, and level of agreement reached by the mother/teacher dyad. Pre-test and posttest data were collected from mothers and teachers on their perceptions of their own competence and the competence of the other, and ratings of the child's presenting problems. In addition, two post-meeting measures were completed as well by both mothers and teachers: a self-report on the subjective impact of the meeting; and the level of satisfaction derived from the meeting.




Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in this study:

1. How will a solution-focused home-school meeting format conducted by a mental

health professional affect each mother's and teacher's

a) subjective evaluation of the meeting,

b) their perceptions of competence,

c) their perception of the child's problem, and

d) their respective level of satisfaction with the meeting?

2. How will a problem-solving home-school meeting format conducted by a mental

health professional affect each mother's and teacher's

a) subjective evaluation of the meeting,

b) their perceptions of competence,


c) their perceptions of the child's problem, and









d) their respective levels of satisfaction with the meeting?

3. How will a home-school meeting conducted by a mental health professional

without structured format affect the mother's and teacher's

a) subjective evaluation of the meeting,

b) their perceptions of competence,

c) their perceptions of the child's problem, and

d) their respective levels of satisfaction with the meeting?

4. Which experimental group will reach the highest level of agreement within the

mother-teacher dyad?




Definitions of Terms

Home-school meeting in this study was defined as a 30-minute meeting between the

mother of the student, the current teacher, and a mental health professional. All meetings were conducted by a mental health professional who followed either a structured or unstructured interview format. The three types of home-school meetings were: (a) structured solutionfocused interview format; (b) structured problem-solving interview fornat; and (c) nonstructured interview format (control group).

Teachers in this study were Brevard County, Florida, Public School System educators teaching pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Mothers in this study were defined as either the biological mother or female legal

guardian of a male student with school behavioral problems. These elementary school students









received mental health services from Circles of Care, a private not-for-profit mental health agency. All mothers were of low socioeconomic status either without medical insurance or receiving Medicaid funding for mental health services. Mothers were fluent in the English language. Experimental cells were made up of a balanced number of Caucasian and AfricanAmerican mothers. The characteristics of the participants were therefore controlled by gender, language fluency, ethnic background, race, and presenting problem of the student.

Mental Health Professional (MP) in this study was a trained professional in child and fimily treatment with a minimum of a two-year graduate degree in a mental health-related field. They were employees of Circles of Care, Inc., an agency that provides children's mental health services throughout Brevard County. In order to ensure greater experimental control, the IHPs had no history with any student, mother, or teacher in the study.

Trainin in this study encompassed extensive training of MHPs on the principles and techniques of either the solution-focused treatment or the problem-solving treatment and interviewing model

Subjective evaluation of the meeting in this study was defined as the results from the scores obtained from the Session Evaluation Questionnaire (SEQ). Originally designed for psychotherapy process and outcome research, the SEQ was applied to the home-school meeting. A mother and teacher completed the SEQ immediately after the meeting.

Parent and teacher competence in this study was defined as the pre- and postmeeting scores obtained from the Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (PTAQ). The Parent and Teacher Forms measured two factors: 1) self-perception of competence and 2)









perceptions of competence toward either the teacher (Parent Form) or the parent (Teacher Form).

Perception of child's problem in this study was defined as the pre-test and post-test

scores obtained from the Eyberg Child Behavior Scale (ECBS) completed by the mothers and the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Scale (SESBS) completed by the teacher. The ECBS and SESBS are comparable instruments both producing two scores: the Problem Scale score and the Intensity Scale score.

Satisfaction with the home-school meeting in this study was defined as a post-meeting measure obtained from eight items scores from the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS).

Level of agreement in this study was defined as the sum score of each HSMSS item for the mother and teacher in a dyad.




Overview of the Remainder of the Paper

The remainder of the dissertation is organized into four chapters. A literature review of all relevant variables is covered in the second chapter. In the third chapter, the researcher presents the research methodology and specific descriptions of all research procedures. The results of the investigation are documented in chapter four. Discussion of the results with related analysis and recommendations is presented in the last chapter.















CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW


When the complex, public world of school and the idiosyncratic world
of family come together, the kaleidoscope of interactions created can be
vibrant, nurturing, explosive, patronizing, or suffocating (Power &
Bartholomew, 1987a, p. 498).


This chapter presents a review of the literature relevant to the purpose of this

study. The first section covers factors impacting on the home and school relationship and different types of home-school meetings. The second section presents an overview of the theories and applications of the models supporting this study, as well as an analysis of comparative studies. The subsequent sections synthesize the supportive evidence for the need, the approach, and the measures of this study. The final section summarizes the major points discussed in this chapter.



Review of the Home-School Relationship

Families and schools share the responsibility of socializing children. Despite the long history of this vital interaction and the current directives for home-school collaboration promoted by scholars (Christenson, 1995b; Christenson & Conoley; 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Henderson, Hunt, & Day, 1994; Lawler, 1991; Shea & Bauer, 1991), little empirical research is available on effective adult-to-adult home-school communication models. Further problems appear when parents and school officials are









pressed to collaborate in interventions with students already perceived as "disturbing to others" (Schwartz & Johnson, 1985).

Many factors have been identified that interfere with home-school communication (Power & Bartholomew, 1987a, 1987b; Vickers & Minke, 1995), collaboration (Christensen et al., 1992), and effective intervention (Kelley, 1990). A review of the literature revealed three major barriers to the home-school relationship: teacher, parent, and system factors.



Teacher Factors

Educational publications identify teachers' negative attitudes as a major

contributor to the schism between home and school. Teachers often perceive parents as incompetent, intrusive (Fine, 1990), deficit-oriented, and apathetic (Christenson, 1995a). Biased myths prevail in schools, such as "what they do not know, won't hurt them," "parents do more harm than good" (Rotter, Robinson, & Fey, 1987, p. 6), and conferences "are a waste of time" (Lawler, 1991, p. 30). Mixed messages may be communicated to parents as surveys indicate schools want parental involvement but teachers find parents "unsupportive" and encourage them to keep a "hands off' attitude (Gartner, 1988; Thornburg, 1981).

Attributional research supports these negative impressions. For example, teachers tend to assume responsibility for children's successes but are more apt to blame the family for children's failures (Muneno & Dembo, 1982). By teachers "blaming the mother" (Collins & Collins, 1990), "pathologizing" parents of special education students (Slade,









1990), and externalizing responsibility to child temperament and family dysfunction (Kelley, 1990), teachers turn their backs to a valuable resource for problem resolution.

Furthermore, teachers, regardless of years of experience, report communication with parents and attempts at parental involvement to be the most stressful and anxietyproducing aspects of their jobs (Evans & Tribble, 1986; Galinsky, 1988; Johns, 1992; Morgan, 1989; Rotter et al., 1987; Seefeldt, 1985). According to Greenwood and Hickman (1991) teachers lack self-efficacy in their efforts to engage parents and need training in parental involvement skills. Others report teachers fail to reach out to parents because they lack initiative (Dombusch & Ritter, 1988), fear litigation, and experience work-related fatigue (Lawler, 1991; Silverstein, Springer, & Russo, 1992).

Also, teachers' communication deficits have been identified as barriers (Slade,

1990). Parents often disengage when teachers use "jargon" (Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; Lawler, 1991) and when teachers project a superior, "expert" role (Munn, 1985; Silverstein et al., 1992). Consequently, rather than facilitating dialogues with parents, teachers tend to dominate conversations (Allison, 1994; Seefeldt, 1985) or give lectures (Riepe, 1990).

In addition, there is documentation attesting that the attitude teachers project is

pivotal to parent-teacher communication. A clear expectation of parental involvement in school generates engagement (Christenson, 1995a). Maintaining a positive attitude throughout the conference (Slade, 1990), starting with a positive observation of the student (Hamachek & Romano, 1984; Lawler, 1991), ending on a positive note (Cooper, 1977), and focusing on the student's strengths are reported to increase disclosure and cooperation (Murphy, 1996). Rotter and his associates (1987) recommend leading









interactions toward solutions instead of questions about the problem, and, more importantly, to communicate hope at the beginning of the conference.



Parental Factors

The second factor attributed to poor home-school relationships can be termed parent factors. Surveys identify a range of parental reactions, including feeling accused, angry, patronized, unheard, guilty, inadequate, and fearful when communicating with school professionals (Margolis, 1991; Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; Silverstein et al., 1992). Parents express a sense of powerlessness because they lack the professional expertise to access the complexities of the educational system (Fine, 1990; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991). Thus, on the part of the parents, family-school contacts often lead to blame, tension, fears, and biased assumptions (Carlson et al., 1992; Galinsky, 1988; Lawler, 1991).

Other parent factors associated with negative home-school relationships include low socioeconomic status (Davies, 1988; Shriver & Kramer, 1993), family composition (Carlson, 1992; Dornbush & Ritter, 1988), ethnic background (Harry, 1992; DelgadoGaitan, 1991; Powers, 1991; Weiss & Edwards, 1992), employment status (Leitch & Tandri, 1988; MacMillan and Tumball, 1983), abuse history (Tharinger & Horton, 1992), maternal insularity (Whaler, 1980), parental expectations (Kelley, 1990), poor health of parent (Leitch & Tandri, 1988), negative educational history (Menacker et al., 1988, in Greenwood & Hickman, 1991), child's disability (Lucyshyn & Albin, 1993; Lusterman, 1992), students' grade level (Eccles & Harold, 1993), and behavioral disorders in children (Barkley, 1990; Paget & Chapman, 1992).









Parents may also maintain an adversarial position when the school does not meet their expectations. Parental knowledge and the amount of information divulged by schools negatively correlate with attitudes about communication with schools (Arnold, Michael, Hosley, & Miller, 1994). These authors concluded that when parents know more about their rights, they became disillusioned with the school's failure to meet educational standards. In addition, the wave toward consumerism mobilizes parents to take assertive actions and to challenge professional authority (Seligman & Darling, 1989).



System Factors

System variables such as excessive working demands, large classes, limited

professional support for collaborative efforts (Ellenburg & Lanier, 1984; Swap, 1992), and lack of time (Rotter et al., 1987) contribute to limited efforts dedicated to parentteacher partnerships. The average length of time of parent-teacher conferences and school counseling interventions is 20 minutes (Littrel, Malia, & Vanderwood, 1995; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989; Myrick, 1987). Feeling rushed and working under time pressures interfere building a relationship and developing a plan of action between the parent and the teacher, especially when problems arise. For this reason, allowing "enough time" for the conference, although a luxury at times, is considered by some a deciding factor (Rotter et al., 1987).

These system problems lead scholars to recommend administrative changes to

support home-school meetings (Cochran & Dean, 1991; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991; Harry, 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989). Inevitably, the high levels of frustration between parents and teachers lead to blaming "the system" for negative outcomes (Carlson et al.,









1992; Slade, 1990). Projection of blame feeds more negativism, disengagement, and inertia.

However, the schism between family and school is not hopeless, as a small number of studies suggest positive opportunities for change. A critical theme in these findings is that parents and teachers differ significantly in their preferences of communication formats. Four studies support this position. First, the work of McCamey (1986) is very relevant to this study. In his survey of over 406 parents and 226 teachers of students with emotional and behavioral problems, he found that teachers prefer to communicate with parents in IEP meetings or parent-teacher conferences involving other adults. In contrast, parents liked best spontaneous and informal meetings, including the traditional parentteacher conference. These findings suggest that teachers of students with emotional and behavioral problems may prefer professional support in their meetings, while parents of these children may be intimidated by the size and formality of multi-professional groups.

Similar findings were reported by three other researchers. In England, Munn

(1985) found that parents prefer teachers to disclose more specific information about their children's progress, while school professionals prefer to provide legal, organizational, and economic information. Hispanic mothers (Harry, 1992) and parents of mildly handicapped children (Arnold et al., 1994) favor informal, face-to-face exchanges with school officials over written communications and formal meetings.

Another group of studies suggests parents may be more malleable than previously described. Parents report a more positive experience than teachers in parent-teacher conferences (Carlson et al. 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989). The frequency of contacts may be a mediating factor (Powell, 1978) as studies indicate parents want to meet more









often with school officials (Arnold et al., 1994, Carlson et al., 1992; Harry, 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989).

There is documentation attesting to the fact that changes in practices also

encourage collaborative efforts, even with populations described as difficult to access (Delgado-Gaitan, 1991). New and promising programs have been recently described in the literature (Christenson, 1995a; Dunst et al., 1992; Paget & Chapman, 1992). Empirically, Epstein and Dauber (1991) demonstrated that school practices were more conducive to positive parental participation than such parental status variables as socioeconomic and educational levels. Lawler (1991) also reported that when teachers communicate to parents that they are needed as partners, parents become more cooperative and receptive.

Additional information is needed regarding which forms of adult-to-adult collaborative methods of communication best benefit parents and teachers with problematic children. Because an extensive review of the literature failed to identify any reports on home-school meetings as conceptualized in the present study, the literature review presented here will address meetings that, while different from, have aspects pertinent to the purpose of this study: (a) the parent-teacher meeting, (b) the multiple participant meeting, and (c) the parent-teacher-mental health professional meeting.



Meetings Between Parents and Teachers

Interactions between teachers and parents can be for better or worse.
Placing parents and teachers in the same room does not necessarily make
the experience fruitful. Inappropriate procedures and inadequate skills and
knowledge can create greater problems than may have existed before the
meeting (Rotter et al., 1987, p. 6).









The Parent-Teacher Conference

Although many school professionals meet with parents individually (Simon, 1984; Wise, 1986), the most common home-school encounter is the traditional parent-teacher conference. This meeting is defined as a cooperative interaction (Henderson, Hunt, & Day, 1994) between a parent and a teacher to discuss the student's progress, to exchange developmental information, and to problem-solve (Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989). The prevailing approach to this encounter is formatted as a problem-solving meeting in which teachers are perceived as "problem-solvers" (Henderson et al., 1994) and responsible for the burden of the conference's success (Cooper, 1977; Rotter et al., 1987).

The first group of writings below include recommendations by experienced teachers (Bjorklund & Burger, 1987; Gelfer, 1991; Howie & Simmons, 1993; Riepe, 1990). In general, educators advise colleagues to employ organizational and logistical maneuvers before, during, and after the conference. These strategies include: accommodating scheduling demands, being on time, gathering student's materials to share with parents, analyzing the student's strengths and weaknesses, selecting a warm and inviting setting, and following with post-conference activities. In addition, conferences led with a focus have direction and enhance the opportunity to bring closure to pending problems (Lawler, 1991; Rotter et al., 1987).

Teachers have applied a variety of creative modifications to the parent-teacher conference: participation of the student (Little & Allan, 1989; Seabaugh & Schumaker, 1981), pre-conference checklists and post-conference reports (Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989; Hamachek & Romano, 1984; Gelfer & Perkins, 1987), newsletters (Gelfer, 1991), involvement of the principal (Lawler, 1991), and telephone conferences (Hamachek &









Romano, 1984; Gelfer, 1991; Gelfer & Perkins, 1987; Little & Allen, 1989; Morgan, 1989). The purpose of the meeting defines which approach is applied. Academic progress-report conferences and special education referral conferences require assembling a representative sample of the student's work (Lawler, 1991). In contrast, disciplineproblem conferences require careful attention to affective responses and communication skills (Lawler, 1991; Lombana & Lombana, 1982).

This next group of writings is by educators (Cooper, 1977; Lawler, 1991; Levy, 1992; Morgan, 1989; Seefeldt, 1985; Slade, 1990; Walker & Singer, 1993; Wol, 1989), counselors (Lombana & Lombana, 1982; Wittmer & Myrick, 1980) and psychologists (Christenson, 1997; Rotter et al., 1987; Wise, 1986). They are based on the empirical findings of counseling research applied to the parent-teacher conference communication. The general consensus is that communication skills are the key to good home-school relationships (Slade, 1990). Interestingly, many of the earlier writings on parent-teacher conferences reviewed and recommended by Cooper (1977) support the relationshipbuilding approach advocated by this group of scholars.

The counseling-oriented group advocates for the application of Rogerian

principles of relationship-building and communication skills. For example, teachers need to practice genuineness, warmth, empathy, respect, acceptance, specificity, self-disclosure, and immediacy (Auten, 1985; Friend & Cook, 1992; Lawler, 1991; Rotter et al., 1987). Communication skills required include paraphrasing, open-ended questions, reflection, summarization, non-verbal communication, "I" messages, and active listening (Lawler, 1991; Morgan, 1989; Reis, 1988; Rotter et al., 1987; Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). In









addition, being patient so that frustrated parents can "vent" facilitates interactions that can lead to problem resolution (Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; Slade, 1990).

Despite the wealth of logical recommendations for successful parent-teacher conferences, empirically controlled findings are rare. Most studies on parent-teacher collaborative conferences were qualitative in nature, with measurements heavily dependent on surveys on satisfaction and attitudes. Specifically, process research is scarce. Even the most recent educational psychology dissertation on the problem-solving approach to the parent-teacher conference communication process (Allison, 1994) was descriptive in nature.

Parent-teacher conference theoretical models seem to be lacking as well (Lawler, 1991). Without this conceptual base, the meetings' results may rest on a weak foundation (Friend & Cook, 1992). Except for the Parent-Conferencing Communication Model (Rohwer, 1991) and the LAWLER Method (Lawler, 1991), most of the educational literature reviewed lacked the structure of a well orchestrated theoretical conceptualization. Instead, the popular "how-to" professional literature borrows segments from Rogerian counseling methods and cognitive-based problem-solving concepts. The lack of a comprehensive theoretical base may explain the almost amorphous formats of parent-teacher conferences found in the literature.



The Multiple Participants Meeting

This model is best represented by the multi-disciplinary team meeting. It is defined as a formal meeting in which families meet with home-based and district-level school personnel; these meetings are called Child Study Team or Individualized Educational









Program (IEP) conferences. In general, this type of meeting contrasts with the traditional parent-teacher conference in the large number of multi-disciplinary participants, the implementation of educational law parameters, and the complex level of group decisionmaking tasks. Group dynamics are at the forefront of this approach, as several individuals are involved in the process of decision-making, negotiation, and conflict resolution (Kaiser & Woodman, 1985). Despite the well-established ritual of IEP meetings, parental participation continues to be problematic (Vaughn, Bos, Harrell, & Lasky, 1988).

Other variations on the multiple participant meeting are: (a) several school officials meet with the family to address an impending issue, often a crisis, and (b) family and community professionals (e.g.,, judicial system, residential treatment staff, school staff, social welfare agencies) meet to discuss progress and goals. Private practitioners working with adolescents advocate for "multi-helper" meetings, which may include teachers, school personnel, and other community agency representatives (Madanes, 1996, personal communication, February 3, 1996; Selekman, 1993). Although this type of meeting is highly recommended by family therapists, research on "multi-helper" meetings is limited. Two relevant articles are discussed below.

First, Epanchin and Owens (1982) report on observational and survey findings of multidisiplinary meetings in a residential school for children exhibiting emotional disturbances. The number of participants in the meetings ranged from seven to fourteen, with a large, skewed representation favoring mental health professionals such as psychiatric and psychological consultants, community mental health representatives, and special education teachers. Parents, children, and residential staff were involved as well. The meeting, however, was conducted by a student advocate taking the role of a case









manager or teacher-counselor liaison. The study also arranged all pre-meeting coordination, including "psychologically" preparing parents and students for the meeting. Results indicated a high level of participant satisfaction. The average length of time of meetings was 53 minutes and parents were rated as the most active participants. The most popular topic discussed addressed school behavior followed next by home behavior. Although not detailed in the report, the format of the meeting suggested a focus on broad problem-solving.

The design flaws noted below raised questions regarding the weight that should be given to the results of this study. First, there were no control groups, only a minimum number of meetings were analyzed (N= 16), and there were variations in the composition of the groups, among other threats to internal validity. Second, in these meetings, the preponderance of mental health-related representatives and teachers specializing in emotionally disturbed students may have unduly influenced the positive therapeutic effects seen in the results. It is speculated that the mental health professionals and special education specialists may have used facilitative communication skills and practiced relationship-building processes. The setting, too, presents a problem. Residential programs work intensively with children and families and have the advantage of collaboration. Consequently, these realities do not apply to the typical school meetings between parents and school officials.

The second study was conducted by Goldstein and Turnball (1982) using better methodology. They compared a control group with two strategies in IEP meetings to increase parental participation: (a) a pre-meeting questionnaire sent to parents (eliciting information on the goals for the student, academic achievement potential, and so on)









followed by a telephone call and (b) the involvement of the school counselor as a parent advocate in the meeting. Data were collected by the observer using a coding system of interactions by an observer and participants were given a post-meeting satisfaction survey.

Goldstein and Turnball found the involvement of the counselor to be the more effective strategy to increase parental disclosure and participation. For example, initial inquiries from counselor-advocates to IEP members resulted in an increase in parental interactions. In addition, counselors' interactions were followed by parental comments and counselors facilitated the dialogue by the using summarization and direct inquiries to the parents. Despite these strategies, there were no differences in post-meeting satisfaction among the three groups, although the authors observed that the group receiving the pre-meeting questionnaire had more fathers and mother-father dyads attending the meeting than did the other groups.

In conclusion, the literature found supported the application of the dynamics of positive communication recommended by counseling professionals. The studies also described effective interventions, such as pre-meeting preparation of parents and the involvement of a family/student advocate in the meeting. This latter finding is significant, as it supports the involvement of a mental health professional in home-school meetings with parents of children with behavioral problems.



The Family-School-Mental Health Professional Meeting

The structure of this type of meeting is usually defined as a triad representing three systems: the family, the school, and the clinician. The purpose of this meeting is to resolve a problem or to prevent a problem from relapsing or escalating. This triadic structure fits









best the approach applied in the present study. Clinicians, as defined by this model, are trained professionals in the counseling, consultation, and family therapy fields working in the schools or the community.

These type of meetings differ in both orientation and therapeutic approach. They are based on the following models: (a) the counseling model (Duncan & Fitzgerald, 1969; Lombana & Lombana, 1982; Nicoll, 1992), (b) the school consultation model (Carlson et al., 1992; Kelley, 1990; Sheridan, 1993; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992), and (c) the family therapy model (Murphy & Duncan, in press; Selekman, 1993; Weiss & Edwards, 1992). Counseling model

In the Counseling Model, school and outpatient counselors meet often with teachers and parents to assess and resolve problems (Valentine, 1992). According to Cooper (1977), the involvement of school counselors is best implemented whenever problems are severe, there is an impasse with progress, or there are difficulties with problem solving. Others recommend the participation of counselors in parent-teacher conferences because counselors (a) facilitate interaction and neutralize the tension between the parent and teacher (Silverstein et al., 1992), (b) strengthen parent-teacher collaboration and disclosure (Lombana and Lombana, 1982; West & Idol, 1996), and (c) increase trust among parents from different ethnic groups (Colbert, 1991). Moreover, the involvement of counselors in parent-teacher conferences has been associated with a subsequent reduction in absenteeism, drop-out rate, and discipline problems (Duncan & Fitzgerald, 1969). Despite the reported benefits of the school counselor in parent-school contacts, school counselors regret the limited time allocated in their busy schedules for more familial interventions (Littrel et al., 1995; Nicholl, 1992).









Nicoll (1992) delineates a family-systems model for the school counselor. His model has nine stages and is designed for parent-teacher conferences, pre-referral assessments, and other forms of communication with parents. The role of the school counselor is portrayed as that of an expert in family and school assessment, counseling, and consultation. This type of intervention is brief (i.e., a maximum of three sessions). The counselor gathers data on familial patterns and student's school behavior in order to recommend teacher-child, parent-child or more extensive family therapy intervention. It is unclear at what stage in the intervention process parent and teacher should meet together and what methods are employed to facilitate parent-teacher collaboration.

Outpatient MHPs also participate in home-school meetings, often serving as

advocates for the child client (Espanchin & Owen, 1982). Their expertise with families in crises, compounded with an empathetic, sensitive approach, provides a secure atmosphere for intervention with parents of emotionally disturbed children (Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). This model of intervention is highly advocated by clinicians but lacks empirical confirmation.

School consultation model

A new breed of school psychologists has adjusted the consultation service delivery to an eco-systemic approach. These professionals meet with parents and teachers in a collaborative fashion (Fine, 1990). Christenson and Cleary (1990), proponents of this model, recommend conducting consultations with parents and teachers and keeping a focus on the following needs: (a) the need to support parents, (b) the need to mutually identify problems and develop interventions, and (c) the need to understand the reciprocal forces between home and school, as reflected by overlapping roles.









The first model of home-school consultation is best represented by behavioral consultants and supported by extensive experimental findings. At the crux of this approach, behaviorists utilize an interview protocol to gather detailed information from teachers and parents (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990; Kelley, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Wielkiewicz, 1992). The process requires several meetings in order to gather baseline data and follow a specific sequence in problem analysis. Because behaviorism is a popular "language" in schools, this approach is often attractive to school personnel (Brown, Prywansky, & Schulte, 1987).

In her book, Kelley (1990) delineates the school-home-note-intervention approach. The goal of this intervention is to change a school problem, either academic or behavioral, using mutually agreed upon goals and contingencies applied to home and school. The parent's responsibility is to read the daily school note and accordingly administer a positive or negative consequence at home. Kelley's interviews follow Bergan's (1977) format of problem identification, problem analysis, plan implementation, and problem evaluation.

The conjoint behavioral consultation model (CBC) is another extension of the behavioral consultation approach (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and is primarily associated with Sheridan and her associates (Galloway & Sheridan, 1994; Sheridan, Kratochwill, Elliott, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill; 1992). In contrast to Kelley's approach, the purpose of conjoint behavioral consultation is to ameliorate a problem exhibited at school, at home, or at both settings (Sheridan & Colton, 1994).

Analysis of the CBC model yields a strong emphasis on problem definition, problem talk, and problem-solving steps (Sheridan, 1993). This process requires the









"externalization" of the problem and places the focus on the child. Parent, teacher, and consultant define the problem by its frequency as well as by the antecedents and consequences of behavioral sequences. By collecting data from multiple settings, this model incorporates home and school in the intervention phase.

CBC quasi-experimental studies with multiple baselines have shown significant improvements of targeted behavior when applied to internalized disorders (Sheridan & Colton, 1994; Sheridan et al. 1990) and underachievement of children (Galloway & Sheridan, 1992). Although lacking in external validity, these investigations are well controlled and combine observational and outcome measures.

Sheridan & Kratochwill (1992) report parents and teachers rate the method

favorably both in consultation satisfaction scales and in collaborative efforts. Of interest, parental satisfaction with face-to-face conjoint consultation was higher than with homeschool notes (Galloway & Sheridan, 1992). These positive findings may also relate to the high frequency of face-to-face contacts associated with positive attitudes toward school (Arnold et al., 1994; Harry, 1992; McCarney, 1986). In addition, the daily feedback required with this approach may provide the necessary cues to maintain treatment adherence among all parties involved (Meichenbaum & Turk, 1987).

Further analyses of the available CBC research reveals that the problems addressed in these studies are mild to moderate in degree (e.g., math problems, shyness). It is questioned, however, if parents of children with behavioral problems may respond differently to CBC. Because these parents are described in the literature as experiencing significant stress and clinical depression (Barkley, 1990; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990), it is speculated the CBC model may require additional parent-oriented










interventions. Furthermore, CBC may not fit the realities of the busy or overwhelmed teacher and parent. The model demands a considerable amount of time as well as a high level of motivation and commitment. In addition, little is known on how CBC interacts with status variables such as race and ethnicity inherited in special populations.

The second model of home-school consultation reflects the current interest in

empowering therapeutic models (Carlson et al., 1992). Based on solution-oriented theory, the parent, teacher, student, and consultant meet in what they call "family-school meetings." This approach focuses on the strict implementation of solution-focused language and techniques using an interview outline. Instead of focusing on problem delineation, the school consultant investigates resources, strengths, and exceptions to the problem.

Only two studies were found that used the solution-oriented consultation. First, Carlson and her associates (1992) report promising results from a pilot study. In particular, adolescent students responded positively to this approach as the empowering methods contradicted their negative expectations of blame from parents and teachers. However, teachers' rated this method were unsatisfactory because the method "did not focus enough on problems." In the second study, solution-oriented consultation was compared to behavioral consultation with teachers only (Landis, 1992). There were no significant differences between the two approaches as measured by self-efficacy, attribution, reports of students' behaviors, and treatment acceptability. Family therapy model

Family therapists (Colapinto, 1988; Ron, Rosenberg, Melnick, & Pesses, 1990) advise against a family-only focus in child treatment without incorporating secondary









systems such as the school. Furthermore, school referrals for family therapy may need to examine the family's relationship with the school, as the problem may be related to multiple systems conflicts. Application from system enthusiasts has produced comprehensive models to assess (Power & Bartholomew, 1987a, 1987b) and intervene (Fine, 1992) in home-school interventions. An example would be Lusterman's (1985, 1992) recommendation to remove the child with behavioral problems from the center of the family and school conflict.

The Ackerman Family Therapy Institute began conducting school meetings in New York City schools in the early 1970s (Weiss & Edwards, 1992). Since then, family therapists have increased their presence in schools. Valentine (1992) recommends that school psychologists and guidance counselors to participate in "brief family intervention" when teachers' interventions fail. Information on this type of multi-systems meeting was found in the clinical case-study literature, not in empirical publications.

A different, cost-effective, and promising family-based intervention is the "home consultant" model (Evans et al., 1993; Evans, Okifuji, & Thomas, 1995). A paraprofessional, under the strict supervision of a psychologist, provides outreach services to families with behaviorally disordered children. The purpose of the intervention is to enhance parenting, increase home and school communication, and prevent school dropout. Results show positive outcome in improving all three areas. However, these articles failed to provide specific information regarding the home-school communication methods employed.

In summary, several types of home-school meeting are currently available to help resolve problems with children. Depending on the presenting problem, some demonstrate









more promise in collaborative adult-to-adult communication methods than others. The involvement of advocates in parent-teacher meetings also show beneficial effects, regardless of the professional's orientation or type of meeting.



Theoretical Foundations of the Study

At the most basic level, the home-school interface promoted in this study is rooted in the belief that the joining of family and school provides the best structure to help children with behavioral problems. To accomplish a collaborative alliance between parent and teacher, this researcher considers empowerment models of therapeutic change as the vehicles to establish successful relationships. The following sections expand on the constructs borrowed from several theories supporting the conceptualization central to this study: eco-systemic theory and empowerment treatment models.



Eco-systemic Theory

Educators and psychologists support using the ecological perspective with

children, as it is comprehensive, developmentally sensitive, and complementary to other theories (Christenson & Cleary, 1990, Dunst & Trivette, 1987; Swap, 1992). The model's flexibility expands on the community psychology thinking of the 1960s (Plas, 1986) as it integrates different ideational models and moves clinical practice outside the professional's office. An example of the popularity of this framework in applied methods of practice is found in the consistent references made to eco-systemic theory in four recently published books on collaboration (Christenson & Conoley; 1992; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Friend & Cook, 1992; Idol, Nevin, & Paolucci-Whitcomb, 1994).









Eco-systemic theory has also guided the conceptualization of the parent-teacher

relationship (Smith & Hubbard, 1988). Power and Bartholomew (1987a) incorporated the available body of literature and formulated an eco-systemic framework depicting five patterns of parent-teacher interaction: (a) avoidance (i.e., rigid patterns where information is not disclosed), (b) competition (i.e., battle for dominance), (c) enmeshment (i.e., overinvolvement without clear boundaries or balanced delineations of responsibility), (d) unidirectionality, (i.e., avoidance by one party), and (e) collaboration (i.e., clear boundaries, flexibility to adapt, and reciprocal communication).

In addition, the triangles and coalitions developed in relationships affect children's behaviors. Children may relate well with significant others individually, but may be disturbed by the conflictual relationship between parent and teacher. Another example of the interrelations between the parent-teacher relationship and children is represented by the findings of Smith and Hubbard (1988). In their exploratory study with pre-school children, they found a higher correlation between frequency and warmth of parent-teacher verbal contacts and child-initiated interactions with teacher.

Thus, the contextual view of eco-systemic theory shifts the position of "blaming the victim." Organizations and systems have the responsibility to modify, create, expand, and adapt approaches to address the needs of the individuals they serve. This systemic perspective reflects the popular slogan, "the consumer is always right." If parents do not communicate, the professional should assume the responsibility of implementing new paradigms to reach the hard to reach. This difficult task is accomplished by adopting the attitude that individuals are competent and resourceful.










Expanding on this positive view of human nature are the two theoretical positions underlying the experimental conditions of this study: problem-solving and solutionfocused models. Both approaches share in their attempts to build on empowerment and competence. A discussion will follow on the similarities and differences of these two models from a theoretical empirical, and applied perspective.



Empowerment Models

The competence paradigm is rapidly gaining followers in the clinical field

(Masterpasqua, 1989; McWhirter, 1991). The foundation of this framework is based on the contributions of such competence-based theorists as Adler, Rogers (Murphy, 1996) and Bandura (Masterpasqua, 1989), as well as by the influence of community psychology (Rappaport, 1987), and feminist therapy (McWhirter, 1991). New models of brief therapy and psychotherapy outcome research provide further support for the application of competency-based interventions. The terms competence and empowerment are used interchangeably in the literature reviewed.

According to McWhirter (1991), counselors who practice empowerment: (a) believe in their client's abilities, (b) conceptualize the presenting problem as an interaction between the client and the client's systems (i.e., individuals do the best they can with their realities), (c) maintain a collaborative approach where client and counselor have expertise (i.e., a balance of power between client and counselor), (d) combine the understanding of how the system's power dynamics hinder client growth with coping plan (i.e., support groups, community involvement), and (e) provide the development of skills (i.e., brainstorming, reframing, assertiveness).









Important in McWhirter's model is the view that empowerment is a relational

construct, not a static characteristic. The perception of powerlessness only exists when individuals become aware of the relationship between their power level and that of the system. To regain power, individuals need to confront the system by utilizing their cognitive and behavioral abilities to develop fruitful coping alternatives. Thus, empowerment constructs expand on systemic theory by not only avoiding placing blame on the victim, but also by not allowing individuals to passively blame the eco-system.

The impact of the empowerment movement is found in the incorporation of

competence-based strategies in the application of well-established treatment methods. For example, Hayes and Hesketh (1989) recommend focusing on targeting positive behaviors over "problematic" behaviors in behavior therapy. Cognitive scientists are engaged in studying the development of "healthy thinking" patterns (Kazdin, 1992). In addition, clinical strategies incorporating empowerment are surfacing in many different treatment applications, including consultation (Witt & Martens, 1988), early childhood intervention (Paget, 1992), program planning (Christenson, 1995a), assessment (Dunst, Trivette, & Hamby, 1996), and family treatment (Dunst et al., 1992; Kalyanpur & Rao, 1991; Waters & Lawrence, 1993).

The clinical framework of empowerment is driven by "strengths perspectives" (De Jong & Miller, 1995). The role of the clinician is to unveil latent abilities, identify unclaimed talents, activate resources, and nurture new proficiencies (Masterpasqua, 1989; Singer & Powers, 1993). Furthermore, by focusing on strengths, the probabilities of ensuring a sense of self-efficacy increase significantly, even in brief therapy (Budman, Hoyt, & Friedman, 1992; Friedman & Fanger, 1991; Miller, 1996, personal









communication, September 26, 1996). Self-efficacy (i.e., "I can do that.") expands the self-psychology construct of self-esteem (i.e., "I like myself.") and directs individuals to take action. Lee and Bobko (1994) report on the connection between self-efficacy and performance as self-efficacy is perceived as a central mediator of behavioral change.

It is speculated that the application of empowering, competency-based homeschool interventions may motivate individuals toward positive, cooperative action (Murphy, 1996). This is supported empirically by the findings from Hoover-Dempsey, Bassler and Brissie (1992), who found a relationship between parental self-efficacy and parental school involvement. Similarly, in their review of the literature, Greenwood and Hickman (1991) concluded that successful initiatives to engage parents were positively related to the educators' level of self-efficacy. Epstein and Dauber (1991) report on studies showing a relationship between teachers' positive self-perceptions and positive involvement toward others. In addition, the higher the frequency of contacts with parents, the more helpful teachers perceived parents to be regardless of their social or educational status. The opposite parental impressions were found in teachers who avoided parental contacts.

In child treatment, the Dunst and Trivette (1987) competence model has been influential. Originally developed to empower families, but applicable to school and teacher, the goals of this treatment model directs professionals to (a) respond to family needs, (b) utilize intra-familial strengths, (c) identify extra-familial resources, and (d) practice "help giving behaviors" that enhance competence. Because the two treatments used in the present study apply empowering models, it will be relevant to explore the effects of these different "help-giving" methods.









Furthermore, the contributions of Dunst and his colleagues (1987, 1988, 1991, 1996) challenge the myth that all "help-giving" is always beneficial. Instead of focusing on the clients' presenting problems, they focus their attention on the clinicians' approach and style. They contend that, regardless of the clinician's good intentions, "help-giving" may have negative effects on the client. They recommend help-givers adopt a competence-based approach in order to avoid client dependency, helplessness, indebtedness, lack of self-efficacy, and poor self-esteem (Dunst & Trivette, 1987).

Dunst and Trivette's ideas are supported by the current movement to demystify clinical methods. The trend is not to "do" therapy on clients, but to treat clients by "collaboration" (Anderson, 1983; Berg & Miller, 1992) or in "partnership" (Christenson, 1995a; Dunst & Trivette, 1987; Fine & Gardner, 1994; Paget, 1992). Collaboration implies a style of communication characterized by a "personable" approach that reduces the distance between client and professional. The non-threatening, natural "conversation" that unfolds in the session becomes the clinical intervention (Berg, 1994; Fine & Gardner, 1994).

Similarly, education initiatives follow a path parallel to clinical practice by moving toward a greater integration of the community in decision-making and by acknowledging parental expertise. Empowering practices in the school imply the sharing of responsibility among all systems involved, the child, the family, the classroom, the faculty, and the school system (Cochran & Dean, 1991; McWhirter, 1991). School reform, legal mandates, and educational directives all push for the participation of parents as coeducators (Epstein, 1988). This approach advocates that school professionals communicate a sense of"we-ness" with parents (Lawler, 1991).









In the schools, most scholars promote a collaborative approach based on parity (Brown et al., 1987; Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989; Idol et al., 1994; Silverstein et al., 1992). They also share with clinical practitioners the belief in approaching parents as "experts." From this perspective, parents know their children best and can fuly participate in decisions about their children (Cochran & Dean, 1991; Delgado-Gaitan, 1991; Dunst et al., 1992; McGrew & Gilman, 1991).

In summary, the two treatment approaches selected in this study share similarities:

(a) a perception of individuals as resourceful and able to decide for themselves, (b) a belief in strengths instead of psychopathological processes, (c) a focus on behaviors and attainable goals instead of trait deficits and unconscious processes, and (d) a commitment to expand clients' competence. (Appendix A contains a comparison of the two treatment methods used in this study.) These models differ, however, in their clinical methods. A more detailed comparison of these models is presented in the following section. Problem-solving model

Problem-solving is a common term used to explain an interpersonal or solitary process in which the solution to a problem is explored. The scholarly popularity of problem-solving models (D'ZuriUa, 1986; Javanthi & Friend, 1992; McClam & Woodside, 1994; Watzlawick et al., 1974) may relate to the common experience of problem-solving in daily life. The richness of the model relies on the vast accumulation of empirical findings from experimental, behavioral, cognitive, social, clinical, and educational psychology fields.

In the late 1960s the problem-solving treatment model emerged as a clinical approach with an emphasis on social competence (D'Zurfila, 1986). Since then, this









treatment model has transcended its original therapeutic purpose and it has become one of the most versatile clinical methods, used by a variety of professional fields requiring decision-making activities. The simplicity and versatility of the approach has generated numerous applications to different problems, populations, and systems (D'Zurilla, 1986).

In clinical practice, the problem-solving model has been used successfully with children (Hughes, 1987), parents (Kazdin, Siegel, & Bass, 1992; Shank & Tumball, 1993), couples (Jacobson, 1984), and families (Robin & Foster, 1989). In child treatment particularly, the problem-solving model has had significant impact. An increasing body of empirical literature shows treatment effects are maximized when behavioral management includes training parents in cognitive problem-solving methods (Kazdin et al., 1992; Rotto & Kratochwill, 1994; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990).

In schools, this method is popular among teachers who often utilized problemsolving curricula (Shure, 1993). In particular, the model is used to intervene with discipline referrals (Bear, 1990; Wielkiewicz, 1992), students with severe disabilities (Giangreco, 1993), school decision-making meetings (Huebner & Hahn, 1990), parental interventions (Sheridan, 1993; Sheridan et al., 1990), and school consultations (Witt & Martens, 1988; Zins & Ponti, 1990).

Of relevance to this study is the empirical support attesting to the model's

effectiveness in increasing coping skills, self-efficacy, and empowerment (McClam & Woodside, 1994; Webster-Stratton, 1993; Witt & Martens, 1988; Zins, 1993). In addition, the interpersonal demands of problem-solving reinforce interpersonal relations (Meacham & Emont, 1989) and increase collaboration (Zins & Ponti, 1990).









The problem-solving model for this study is an interpersonal, sequential, five-step process led by a clinician to help a mother and teacher resolve a mutually agreed upon concern. The five steps of the problem-solving model applied to this study include: problem identification, generation of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, selection of the best alternative, and evaluation of its effectiveness. The last step requires a follow-up meeting and will not be included in this study.

Of these steps, the identification of the problem has received the most theoretical and empirical attention. It is considered to be the best predictor of positive outcome, as well as the most difficult stage to accomplish (Bergan, 1995; D'Zurilla, 1986; Janvanthi & Friend, 1992; Witt & Elliott, 1983). Depending on the model, this first step is made of few to many sub-steps. For example, Bergan's nine-stage model relies heavily on a behavioral approach to problem identification. Consequently, extensive data are gathered during the nine sub-steps of problem definition as it focuses only on the antecedents and consequences of problematic behavior. Due to the time pressures of school professionals, Bergan (1995) recommends focusing on the chief complaint rather than on the assessment of positive behaviors. In contrast, other problem-solving models incorporate the assessment of positive, coping behaviors in this first stage (Wielkiewicz, 1992; Witt & Martens, 1988).

The cognitive model of D'Zurilla (1986) includes attention to stress factors during the first stage of problem identification. Borrowing the transactional stress of Lazarus (in D'Zurilla, 1986), he addresses the impact environmental factors have upon the individual. It is speculated that the management demands placed by behaviorally disordered children generate stress in parents and teachers. Attention to this assumption is









important because affective reactions interfere with problem-solving processes (Kramer, 1989).

The second step in implementing the problem-solving model involves the

generation of multiple alternatives, also known as brainstorming. This stage has roots in E. P. Torrance's paradigm of creativity (in McClam & Woodside, 1994). Under this model, three areas constitute a creative endeavor: (a) fluency or quantity of ideas generated, (b) flexibility or wide range of ideas, and (c) originality or the production of unusual ideas. Torrence hypothesized that creativity heavily depends on fluency. The larger the quantity of ideas produced, the higher the probability of achieving flexibility and originality. Two strategies facilitate this stage: writing the alternatives and deferring judgment (Jayanthi & Friend, 1992; Robin & Foster, 1989). By writing down all the alternatives, participants can either expand, combine, or specify ideas by association.

The third and fourth stages represent the evaluation of the alternatives generated and the selection of the best alternative' respectively. Several strategies have been developed to facilitate the decision-making aspect of the problem-solving process, such as choosing the alternative easiest to implement ( Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) or the one most valuable to the individual (McClam & Woodside, 1994).

In conclusion, the problem-solving approach is a viable method to employ in home-school meetings because it is strongly supported by empirical findings and it enhances interpersonal relations. The model has been applied successfully to parents and teachers with children with behavioral problems.









Solution-focused model

In contrast to the problem-solving model, the solution-focused approach is a

relatively new therapeutic approach with limited experimental support. The richness of the solution-focused movement lies in sound theoretical postulates developed by talented clinicians from the Brief Family Therapy Center (BFTC) in Milwaukee under the direction of de Shazer, Berg, Lipchick, and others. Most of the available literature addresses the model's constructs, applications, and techniques. Several case studies and reports on qualitative research show favorable results (De Jong & Hopwood, 1996; McKeel, 1996). The following review is presented based on solution-focused postulates and supportive research relevant to this study.

The interest in the solution-focused approach is expanding beyond brief therapy outpatient clinics. De Jong and Miller (1995) praise the collaborative style of solutionfocused theory as the main reason for its high applicability to all forms of interpersonal problem-solving tasks. Solution-focused techniques have been successfully applied to patients in psychiatric hospitals (Vaughn, Webster, Orahood, & Young, 1995; Webster, Vaughn, & Martinez, 1994; Webster, Vaughn, Webb, & Playter, 1995), rehabilitation programs (Chandler & Mason, 1995), clinical supervision (Thomas, 1996), social services family supervision (Berg, 1994), school consultation (Carlson et al., 1992), and school counseling (Bonnington, 1993; Dowing & Harrison, 1992; Murphy, 1996; Murphy & Duncan, in press).

Unfortunately, solution-focused theory has been misjudged as superficial and simplistic, contributing only to the field with therapeutic techniques (Miller, personal communication, September 28, 1996). However, analysis of this clinical approach reveals









that solution-focused treatment is complex and represents a powerful treatment modality. In particular, this approach challenges the traditional clinical training of mental health professionals. A paradigm shift from psychopathology to empowerment may not be an easy task for many professionals in the field. The clinician may need a high level of concentration not to slip back to the traditional, "you need to fix the pathology" approach.

For this reason, the therapists' positive perspective and the belief in the

resourcefulness of their clients drive all therapeutic interventions. This "mental health" approach allows clients to reach goals and change positively (Berg & Miller, 1992). Support for this approach is evident from findings on pre-treatment changes. WeinerDavis, de Shazer, and Gingerich (1987) found that a significant number of clients experienced positive changes between the first telephone call made for an appointment and the first session. Similar findings are reported by McKeel (1996), who conducted an unpublished study with Weiner-Davis. In addition, psychotherapy research also supports pre-treatment change as individuals on waiting lists, often used as controls, have reported some level of spontaneous remission without therapy (Lambert & Bergin, 1994).

When clients come to therapy, they are saturated with problems and they generalize the occurrence of these problems as the "rule" (de Shazer, 1985). The therapist digs for exceptions to the "rule" and constructs a new positive reality through a sophisticated interviewing process (Lipchick, 1988). According to Molnar and de Shazer (1987), the focus then turns from problems to be solved to solutions to be identified (p. 349). The attempt to accomplish this paradigm shift is by identifying past successes (i.e., resources, talents) and exceptions to the problem (i.e., what is happening when the









problem does not occur), and developing small attainable goals. As de Shazer and his colleagues stated, successful therapy only needs to focus on "how will we know when the problem is solved?" and not on dissecting the problem (1986, p. 10).

The solution-focused approach has been compared to problem-solving approaches. Friedman and Fanger (1991) state that the solution-focused approach generates expectations of possibilities and hope, while problem-solving emphasizes what is wrong and how to move the client away from the experience of anxiety. Moreover, de Shazer believes solutions may not be directly related to the presenting problems and that complex problems do not need complex solutions. He advocates instead the discovery of "skeleton keys" or previously successful solution patterns or small solutions that may have applicability to the presenting concern (de Shazer, 1988, p. 51).

The relevance of solution-focused treatment to this study is based on several characteristics: (1) client-centered approach, (2) basic treatment assumptions,

(3) "solution-talk," and (4) collaborative client-counselor relationship. A detailed discussion follows:

1. Client-Centered Approach. The model's structure relies on a client-determined, culturally-sensitive approach where the therapy evolves within the client's frame of reference (Berg & Miller, 1992). By concentrating on the client's "ear" and not the clinician's (i.e., diagnostic mode), adaptation to the client's frame of reference becomes a reality (Murphy & Duncan, in press). There is a strong focus on joining with the client by mirroring the client's sensorial mode and language (Berg, 1994; O'Hanlon & WeinerDavis, 1989). Sophisticated counseling skills, therefore, are necessary to listen to, accept, redirect, and motivate the client (Murphy & Duncan, in press). Scott Miller (personal









communication, September, 27, 1996) recommends the use of the LAVGC approach: listen, acknowledge, validate, goaling, and confirming.

2. Basic Treatment Assumptions. The model is based on assumptions that

reinforce simplicity. Some basic assumptions are: (a) "ifit ain't broke, don't fix it," (b) if it works, do more of it," and (c) "ifit doesn't work, do something different" (Berg & Miller, 1992, p. 17). In addition, a major task in therapy is to develop the smallest observable goal. Solution-focused therapists also take the client's presenting problem at face value and do not attempt to confabulate the chief complaint with complex hypothetical interpretations. Solution-focused methods resemble the approach taken in the medical and educational fields of the "least invasive procedure" or "least restrictive placement" respectively.

3. Solution-Talk. The model relies heavily on the art of therapeutic language. The solution-led interview is designed as a distinctive form of therapeutic intervention. Leaders of the movement (Berg, 1994; Berg & de Shazer, 1993; de Shazer, 1985, 1988; Lipchick, 1993; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989) underscore the careful selection of questions, intonations, orientations, and content of interactions.

Solution-talk, also called "change-talk," happens when the verbal cues of the clinician lead the client to talk about changes and not about problems. This method of interaction was developed as the result of the BFTC staff's careful analysis of language practices in therapy sessions. They demonstrated the utility of such treatment techniques as a variety of questions (e.g., miracle, coping, exception, scaling questions), choice of inquiry terms (e.g., what, how, when), selection of terms (e.g., both/and), future orientation, feedback style (e.g., "wow," "I'm impressed with..."), and what to avoid (e.g.,









words such as "why," "if," and questions about causes, past history, pathology). Another contribution was the pre-suppositional language developed by O'Hanlon and WeinerDavis (1989), which sets the client to thinking about the future without the problem. Stated differently, when clients talk about change and the future, the expectation of change spurs motivation.

Solution-talk is confirmed by the findings of several studies. Gingerich, de Shazer, and Weiner-Davis (1988), found that interactions of therapists using "change-talk" triggered change and solution-talk in the client. Shields, Sprenkle and Constantine (1991) demonstrated that "solution-talk" in the first session led to a lower attrition rate of clients. Beyebach, Rodrigues-Morejon, Palenzuela and Rodrigues-Arias (1996) in Salamanca, Spain, provide the most experimentally controlled support for the solution-focused language style. They utilize complex coded communication systems used to analyzed the therapeutic dialogue of entire sessions and they base their psychotherapy research on the "relational communication approach" of the Mental Research Institute model: "people do not relate and talk, but rather relate in talk, in other words, their exchange of messages is their relationship" (p. 301).

The Salamanca group found a positive correlation between the use of domination (i.e., controlling interactions: arguments, debates, question-answer dialogues etc.), and submissiveness (i.e., passive interactions) in the first session of brief therapy and premature termination. In contrast, neutralizing interactions (i.e., neutral remarks such as "I see," "yeah," "I understand") were associated with completion of treatment. The latter is best characterized by counseling communication skills advocated by solution-focused therapists such as active listening, paraphrasing, summarizing, and "listening to the









process." Furthermore, Beyebach's group believes that this type of neutralizing exchange determines what has been called the influential "nonspecific" factors of treatment process.

4. Collaboration. Because the client has the power to change, techniques take

second place to the alliance the counselor develops with the client. The solution-focused approach places strong emphasis on building a collaborative relationship with the client by not assuming an expert role (Berg & Miller, 1992; Kiser, Piercy, & Lipchick, 1993). The therapist seeks opportunities for "change" in the client's narratives (Berg & Miller 1992; Murphy & Duncan, in press;). A key to creating a safe, collaborative climate for change is the emphasis given to the clinician's practice of acceptance. This approach leads to what Erickson called the "yes set" of the client (de Shazer, 1982). The client's receptive position allows the therapist to either compliment the client (Kiser et al., 1993) or successfifly reframe negative observations.

Related to collaboration is the model's well developed framework to increase client cooperation. Because solution-focusing not a deficit oriented approach, client's non-compliance is not labeled as resistance (de Shazer, 1984). Instead, the model provides a framework where therapeutic adjustments can be made by the temporary classification of clients as either consumers, complainers, or visitors. Each of these categories has a treatment strategy to increase cooperation.

The researcher's review of the solution-focused literature supports the analysis made by Murphy and Duncan (in press). They strongly support the model because solution-focused treatment contains the four major factors identified in the psychotherapy research literature as the best predictors of successful treatment: forty percent to client









factors, thirty percent to relationship factors, fifteen percent to treatment model factors, and fifteen percent to expectation of change or hope factors. That is, solution-focused treatment is a viable treatment approach because its client-centered approach focuses on client's strengths, practices a collaborative client-professional relationship, contains a wealth of therapeutic techniques, and expands the client's hope with future perspectives.

In conclusion, the solution-focused treatment provides a useful method to

counteract the body of literature attesting to the negative feelings between families and schools. The model responds to time-limited interventions and allows for a fresh positive start to home-school communication. Because the solution-focused structured interview format does not have the well delineated "steps" or sequence of the problem-solving model, the interview adapted the recommended "solution-talk" interviewing methods to a home-school meeting (Berg, 1994; De Jong & Miller, 1995; Molnar & de Shazer, 1987). That is, the solution-focused home-school interview identified: (a) what works,

(b) strengths at home and school, (c) exceptions to the rule, (d) complaints refriamed as strengths, and (e) a small, meaningful goal developed by mother and teacher.



Comparative Studies

A literature search from PsycLit, ERIC, and Dissertation Abstracts generated five comparative studies of problem-focused and solution-focused approaches. The first three were published in professional journals and the last two studies were dissertation investigations. An analysis of these studies will be presented in this section.









1. Adams, Piercy, and Jurich (1991)

This study was based on the dissertation research of the first author in 1989. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the solution-focused technique, the "formula first session task" or FFST (i.e., what is working well and what do you want to see continue happening), and a problem-focused task (i.e., a specific and comprehensive assessment of all components of the presenting problem). Two conditions followed in the second session: a solution-focused or a problem-focused approach. A third group (i.e., control group) performed a problem-focused task followed by problem-focused treatment. The results of the study showed differences in short-term and long-term outcome effects. Groups using the FFST demonstrated by the second session (i.e., short-term) significant improvements in presenting problem and goal clarity as well as in a higher level of compliance. In contrast, by the tenth session (i.e., long-term) there were no differences between the three groups in presenting problem and outcome optimism. The authors concluded that predicting outcome based on using one single technique (i.e., FFST) may not be a realistic expectation.

2. Jordan and Quinn (1994)

The second study investigated the effects of two family therapy sessions using two well delineated approaches, solution-focused and problem-focused. This latter approach followed the problem-oriented focus of the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto (i.e., comprehensive assessment of the problem using circular questions). They also used the FFST at the end of the first session, regardless of the treatment condition. They did not use a control group. Randomization of subjects (N=57) was applied, but group assignment ranged from twenty five to fifteen participants. The researchers collected data









from well-established instruments used in psychotherapy processes and outcome research: session impact, the therapeutic alliance, and outcome expectancy. Results showed significant differences. The solution-focused group had more session depth, smoothness, and positivity, as well as more perceived improvement and positive outcome expectancy. However, the authors explained that while solution-focused methods may produce more gains in the early stages of therapy, the problem-solving approach may still be beneficial at a later stage of treatment. They suggested that the dependent measures may have been more sensitive in detecting changes with the solution-focused approach.

3. Littrell, Malia, and Vanderwood (1995)

The third study compared solution- and problem-focused first session counseling with a randomized selection of high school students (N=61). Independent variables were based on three variations of the same treatment approach and two brief follow-up sessions at two and six weeks twenty and five minutes, respectively. Treatment was based on the Mental Institute Research four step problem-solving model (Watzlawick et al., 1974): (a) definition of the problem, (b) identification of past successful solutions, (c) development of a specific goal, and (d) assignment, or first-session task. The solution group received the last two steps only while the problem-focused group received all four steps. A modified control group received only the first three steps, making it the only group without a first-session task. Quantitative findings showed no significant differences among the three groups, while qualitative data produced a wealth of clinical information. Although relevant as a global measure of counseling progress, the dependent measures were restrictive (three questions only) and psychometrically weak to reliably evaluate treatment changes. However, the authors recommended solution-focused methods for









busy counselors with limited time available, as the approach required less counselor time than the other two approaches.

The naturalistic design of this study sacrificed internal validity to external validity. In addition, the distinction between solution- and problem-oriented independent variables was not clearly differentiated. Theoretically, solution-focused constructs are an extension of the strategic thinking of the problem-solving approach of Watzlawick and his colleagues (1974). All three groups shared one step, goal setting. Without a control group, it is difficult to confirm if this third step had any influence on the results.

4. Sundstrom (1994)

The fourth study is a dissertation investigation in which the effects of the solutionfocused and problem-focused approaches on depressed female college students (N=40) were investigated. Subjects were only seen for a single therapy session. The problemfocused approach concentrated on the specific assessment of depressive symptoms, addressing causes of depression and concerns, and identifying negative coping behaviors. In contrast, the solution-focused approach minimized the presenting problems and maximized past successful experiences and the future visualization of life without the problems. Pre- and post-session measures were obtained using several depression inventories, a self-esteem scale, and a post-test counselor rating instrument. While were no differences between the two groups in measures of self-esteem, outcome, or perceptions of the counselors, the solution-focused group showed improvements in depressive symptoms. The author concluded that the solution-focused approach was associated with positive changes in mood but that neither approach showed superiority in the effectiveness of one single session of therapy.









5. Landis (1992)

The last study was a dissertation investigation in which the effects of solutionfocused and behavioral-oriented formats were used in school consultations with teachers. The behaviorally oriented group followed Bergan's consultation interview. Although identified as behavioral, Bergan's approach follows problem-solving steps similar to those in the current study. Teachers (N=32) completed pre-and post-intervention measures in the following areas: attribution of causality regarding the student's behavioral problems, reports of student's behavioral problems, and teacher self-efficacy. A post-test treatment acceptability measure was used as well. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for language of consultee's responses to consultant's questions. There were no differences between the two groups in teachers' self-efficacy, attributional changes, perceptions of the student's problem, and treatment acceptability. However, the author reported that teachers in the solution-focused groups tended to respond in "change" language to solution-oriented questions.

In sum, these five comparative studies show mixed results. In contrast to the solution-focused approaches, the definition of the problem-solving treatment varied considerably among the studies. Several populations were represented, families, couples, adults, adolescents, and teachers. None included the mother-teacher dyad. Only one of the five studies had a homogeneous presenting problem, depression, and some dependent measures that they used were psychometrically weak.

The design of the current investigation contrasts with the above analyzed studies in several areas: (a) the presenting problem addressed, students with behavioral problems, was homogeneous across all three groups, (b) the problem-solving treatment condition









was well-defined as a distinctive cognitive-behavioral intervention, and (c) the use of a separate control group without a defined treatment approach was included. In addition, participants from two separate systems with different levels of emotional investment regarding the presenting problem were involved in the study and their results were examined individually and as dyads.



Support for the Need for the Study

Examination of the comprehensive literature review presented in this chapter

disclosed several factors that further support the need for the study. A discussion follows on: (1) the home-school interface, (2) population characteristics, (3) mental health services in the schools, (4) psychotherapy treatment models, and (5) research status.



Home-School Interface

Conclusions drawn from the literature review confirm the importance of the homeschool relationship and help to identify barriers to home-school communication. Because the needs of children cannot be met solely by either families or schools (Christenson & Cleary, 1990), scholars urgently call for methods to improve the communication between these groups (Christenson et al., 1992; Epstein, 1988, 1992; Sutherland, 1991). Despite this, little is known about beneficial parent-teacher, adult-to-adult, models of communication (Power & Bartolomew, 1987a; Vickers & Minke, 1995). Therefore, there is a need to develop, investigate, and solidify approaches that enhance parent-teacher interactions regarding children with behavioral problems.









One method to increase home-school partnerships is the face-to-face contact

between parent and teacher (Epstein, 1988, 1992). These meetings are endorsed by many because they are viewed as the most powerful public-relations technique schools can employ (Lawler, 1991; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989), as influential experiences in the early school grades (Greenwood & Hickman, 1991), as the best communications method (Cooper, 1977), as the parents' preferred choice of communication (Arnold et al., 1994; Harry, 1992; McCarney, 1986), and as the most fruitful method to positively impact students' learning and well-being (Christenson et al., 1992; Rotter et al., 1987; Seabaugh & Schumaker, 1981). However, home-school collaborative meetings suffer from the complexities inherent in school-based intervention research (Christenson, 1995a; Werthamer-Larsson, 1994), the long-lived attitudinal problem between parents and teachers, and the lack of experimentally controlled studies (Christenson et al., 1992; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992).



Population Characteristics

Collaboration between parents and teachers of behaviorally disordered children continues to present challenges to school professionals, especially teachers (Smallwood, Hawryluk, & Pierson, 1990). These children require multiple setting interventions as well as the coordination of many professional services (Evans et al., 1993; Lucyshyn & Albin, 1993). Teachers need parental support to maximize their students' learning (Christenson, 1997; Sutherland, 1991) but the demands placed by these children on parents and teachers exacerbate the tension reported in the home-school relationship.









Investigation of mothers of behaviorally disordered children is needed because their role is pivotal to child development. Mothers also assume the primary communication's role between the family and the school. It has been shown that what mothers and other family members do with children at home (i.e., process variables) predicts sixty percent of school achievement variance (Christenson, 1995b, 1997).

Moreover, clinical depression is often found among mothers of children with

behavioral problems (Barkley, 1990; Hock, Schirtzinger, & Lutz, 1992; La Roche, Turner, & Kalick, 1995; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990). The reported lack of social support for these mothers is associated with poor parenting efficacy (Billings & Moss, 1985; Cutrona & Troutman, 1986), with levels of perceived depression (La Roche et al., 1995), and with short-lived treatment effects (Dumas & Whaler, 1983). By establishing a solid, supportive bridge between mothers and teachers, positive home-school experiences could reduce parental disengagement.

Mothers with special-needs children, therefore, need the supportive relationship of professionals (Krehbiel & Kroth, 1991; Lucynshyn & Albin, 1993; Noh, Dumas, Wolf, & Fisman, 1989;) who are sensitive to their needs (Johnston & Zemitzch, 1988; Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). According to Seligman and Darling (1989), parents and their specialneeds children constitute a unique population, as the school becomes the primary source for guidance, intervention, and support. They contend that if these families do not communicate with school professionals to access resources and receive support, their children's needs will not be met. Moreover, the treatment of behaviorally disordered children requires multiple interventions, a high level of involvement from significant adults, and expertise in behavioral management and problem-solving skills (Barkley, 1990;









Ramsey & Hill, 1988; Selekman, 1993; Smallwood et al., 1990; Young, 1990; WebsterStratton & Hammond, 1990).

From this perspective, building a positive relationship between mothers and

teachers of the children in this special population may increase parental competence as well as maintain supportive networking. If these mothers are to respond to the exceptional parenting demands placed on them by their children, then long-term models of collaboration with school professionals is necessary. Furthermore, behaviorally disordered children typically manifest misbehavior in multiple settings (Simpson, 1988), so the working relationship between parents and professionals becomes a critical medium for intervention.



Mental Health Services in the Schools

Currently, the role of child mental health professionals is expanding (Adelman & Taylor, 1993). The ability of these professionals to work with difficult clients, their extensive training in child treatment, and their skills with families in crisis are essential if they are to meet the overwhelming demand for child mental health services (Mondcrin & Robinson, 1991).

In addition, there is a growing interest in the development of new paradigms in child-oriented mental health delivery services in the schools (Carlson et al., 1995; Tharinger, 1995; Werthamer-Larsson, 1994). One possible contribution to a new paradigm of service delivery might be to recast the role of mental health professionals as facilitators of successful home-school meetings with populations at risk, but little information is available on this particular composition of conference participants.









(Appendix B provides a comparison between parent-teacher conferences and mental health approaches.)



Psychotherapy Treatment Models

Psychotherapy theory and research support the effectiveness of brief empowering therapy methods as powerful tools to establish therapeutic alliances and increase selfefficacy (Budman, Hoyt & Friedman 1992). These treatment models show positive outcomes with families previously described as difficult to reach (Dunst, Trivette, Gordon, & Starnes, 1993; Kalanyapur & Rao, 1991; Segal Silverman, & Temkin, 1995). Furthermore, the selection of mothers as participants makes them by default representatives of a population whose characteristics (e.g., gender, low economic status, race) are linked to "powerless" groups in need of competence building (McWhirter, 1991).

In addition, the application of empowering clinical methods to school-parent

communication has only recently been considered (Carlson et al., 1992). Because these methods enhance the receptivity and motivation of the client (Berg, 1994; Duncan & Murphy, in press; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989; Murphy, 1996), they may have valuable application to other forms of interpersonal interventions in diverse settings.



Research Status

Because home-school collaboration is a process, not a service or activity

(Christenson, 1995b). and is set within the complex world of school-based mental health intervention (Werthamer-Larsson, 1994), it is a very difficult intervention to investigate. This may explain the preponderance of attitudinal survey studies in which opinions are









explored in a rather passive and static manner. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the effectiveness of different "actions" that may counteract obstructions to collaboration and may contribute to new methods of service integration (Adelman, 1993; Apter, 1992; Harvey, 1995). The action-focused design of this present study explored the changes after an intervention in attitudes and perceptions.

In summary, there is a strong need to conduct this investigation because: (a) homeschool collaboration is a relevant problem, (b) the population selected warrants research and treatment attention, (c) experimentally controlled home-school meeting studies are rare, (d) brief therapy advances warrant being applied to other forms of therapeutic interpersonal processes, (e) discriminating among the professionals' "helping behaviors" using differing empowering approaches may prove useful in clinical practice, and (f) the expanding role of mental health professionals needs to be explored empirically.



Support for the Approach of the Study

The approach of this study responds to the division reported between researchers and practitioners (Kazdin, 1993). This study can be classified as an applied study that incorporates theoretical constructs with an experimental design. This type of confirmatory methodology is recommended for research on treatment effects because it emphasizes internal validity (Howard, Orlinsky, & Lueger 1995).

In addition, this investigation utilizes well established research methods from

attitudinal surveys, communication studies, and psychotherapy research. The rationale is based on the following issues. First, collecting data on attitudes and subjective reactions of participants in a home-school meeting is important because those attitudes are the









cornerstone of relationship building, collaboration, and usability (Christenson et al., 1992; Reimers et al., 1987). Secondly, parent and teacher will be studied as a dyad, a method recommended by communication research (Erchul, et al., 1992). Lastly, advances in psychotherapy research in process and outcome, especially those related to brief therapy methods, influence the clinical methods selected for the study. A more detailed explanation follows.



Attitudinal Research

Attitudes, also referred to as perceptions or cognitions, motivate individuals to engage, participate, and adhere to psychological interventions (Erchul et al., 1992; Meichenbaum & Turk, 1987). As reviewed earlier in this chapter, negative perceptions toward the school hinder collaborative efforts. Consequently, school researchers agree on the need to investigate attitudes that impact on the home-school relationship (Arnold et al., 1994; Christenson & Conoley, 1992; Christenson & Cleary, 1990; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991). Similarly, psychotherapy researchers recommend collecting data on clients' perceptions of the treatment experience because clients have "privileged access" to information that cannot not be provided by observers (Elliott & James, 1989, p. 445).

Most educational research on parent and teacher attitudes has focused on survey studies characterized by the use of monodic variable data, or data collected on separate individuals or characteristics of individuals. An example is the well-developed, comprehensive survey on attitudes toward family-school communication with parents of special education students done by Arnold and his associates (1994). According to Millar









and associates, (in Erchul et al., 1992) in communication research, monodic variables are viewed as lacking in predictive validity and information.



Dyadic Research

Dyadic data will be collected in the present study using perception and attitudinal measures. Long advocated by those with an interpersonal view of human interaction (Laing, Phillipson, & Lee, 1966) and supported by the increasing interest in interpersonal and systemic research (Erchul & Chewing, 1990; Erchul et al., 1992; Greenberg & Pinsof, 1986), the use of dyadic variables is increasing.

The rationale supporting dyadic methodology is based on pragmatic, conceptual, and research issues. Instead of using complex interpersonal coding systems, some researchers (Erchul et al., 1992) recommend collecting data on perceptions that lead to levels of agreement and understanding. Conceptually, the interpersonal view of Laing and his colleagues (1966) offers a model for the study of home-school interactions. Interpersonal exchanges follow a "spiral of reciprocal perspectives" based on three constructs: (1) "direct perspectives" (e.g., the opinions parents and teachers have about a specific issue), (2) "meta-perspective," (e.g., the perception a parent has about what the teacher's position is on an issue), and (3) "meta-metaperspective," (e.g., the perception a parent has about what the teacher thinks the parent's opinion is on an issue).

According to Erchul and Chewing (1990), an "agreement" is reached when individuals have the same direct perspectives, while "understanding" becomes the "metaperspective" of individual A regarding the direct perspective of individual B. In particular, they underscore the importance of agreement in teamwork and they advocate









Pryzwansky's "congruence" construct (in Erchul & Chewing, 1990) as a decisive component of effective consultation.

Because the purpose of home-school meetings is to increase collaboration and

teamwork between parent and teacher, studying the direct perspectives of participants is a valuable tool to assess a dyad's degree of agreement. This method of research is relevant when studying social relationships (Orlinsky & Howard, 1986) because the perception of participants is considered more important than data obtained through observers (Elliott & James, 1989). They also report that the level of involvement of participants is associated with agreement. That is, if home-school meetings are structured to increase the level of participation of parents and teachers, then the level of agreement and collaboration will be higher.

There are, however, no established tools to measure the home-school meeting's level of agreement, so this researcher will utilize the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) developed for this study. The items on this post-test measure represent factors identified in the professional literature that impact on home-school collaboration.



Psychotherapy Research

In this study the home-school meeting facilitated by a MHP is conceptualized as a brief therapeutic encounter. The role of the MHP is to enhance collaboration between the participants in order to develop mutually agreed interventions or "treatment plans." Home-school meetings require the MHPs' communication and relationship skills as the meeting's structure parallels other forms of direct and indirect service delivery activities. Given the similarities between the home-school meeting and single session therapy, brief









therapy research and clinical methods apply (Appendix B provides a comparison between counseling methods and home-school communication formats.).

With over 500 psychotherapy studies documented in the literature (Howard et al., 1995), the effectiveness of psychotherapy and counseling is a well documented fact (Howard et al., 1995; Lambert & Bergin, 1994). Inevitably, the years and efforts dedicated to psychotherapy research have produced improvements in methodology. This study takes advantage of the polished research methods advocated by leaders in this scientific arena (Elliott, 1995; Greenberg, 1986; Greenberg & Pinsof, 1986) by investigating process and outcome variables (Elliott, 1995) as well as applied methods of consumerism (Johnston & Mash, 1989; Reimers et al., 1987; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992).

Most scientists and clinicians agree that a successful therapeutic experience

requires not quantity but quality. Investigators support the single session as a natural unit of research because process and outcome variables can be thoroughly examined with a "smaller is better" approach (Greenberg, 1986; Greenberg & Pinsof, 1986; Orlinsky & Howard, 1986; Stiles, 1989). Similarly, single session therapy proponents validate the clinical gains made from a single session of therapy (Budman et al., 1992; Hoyt, Friedman, & Budman, 1992; Rosenbaum, 1990). Thus, the clichd that "more is better," (Hoyt, 1990, p. 117) is replaced with a "better is better" clinical approach (Rosenbaum, 1990, p. 168).

Lastly, the structured interview format of the home-school meeting increases experimental control and the clinical effectiveness of the intervention. First, structured interviews increase the reliability of the generated content (Hay, Hay, Angle, & Nelson, 1979). That is, clients respond to the questions or verbal cues used by the therapist. In









addition, psychotherapy research indicates that treatment with a focus predicts positive outcome (Budman & Gurman, 1988). The sequence of each home-school meeting interview condition investigated in this study is designed to keep the facilitator with a focus on the particular treatment model.



Support for the Measures of the Study

Elliott (1995) recommends the use of psychometrically sound instruments to assess treatment outcome and process. He claims that instruments developed specifically for a particular study lack technical strength and applicability. The three dependent measures selected follow the recommended instruments by scholars in the areas of perception of competence, rating of child behaviors, and session impact. In addition, the selected measures comply with what Aveline (1995) considers the "best buy" for a standard package in counseling research: a measure of self-esteem (i.e., Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire), a measure of symptoms (i.e., Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory, SutterEyberg Student Behavior Inventory), and a measure of the quality of the interpersonal relationship (i.e., Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey).



Session Evaluation Questionnaire

The usefulness of the Session Evaluation Questionnaire (SEQ) - Form 4 in the

current study is based on the similarities between the interpersonal processes of a parentteacher conference and a counseling session. Because the SEQ immediately captures critical treatment effects (Hill, Helms, Tichenor, Spiegel, O'Grady, & Perry, 1988;









Horvath & Marx, 1990), it is considered a "mediator" between treatment process and treatment outcome.

Several factors reinforce the selection of the SEQ as a dependent measure in this study: (a) its utility in measuring client's reaction to brief therapy methods (Jordan & Quinn, 1994; Mallinckrodt, 1993; Stiles, Shapiro & Firth-Cozens, 1988; Tryon, 1990), (b) its proven value in comparing the session impact of different treatment models (Jordan & Quinn, 1994; Stiles, et al., 1988) and facilitative interactions (Stiles, 1980; Stiles & Snow, 1984; Stiles, Tupler & Carpenter, 1982), (c) its acclamation by well-respected researchers in treatment process and outcome studies (Cummings, Slemon, & Hallberg, 1993; Horvath & Marx, 1990), (d) its simplicity and ease of administration, (e) its adequate psychometric composition (Stiles, 1980, 1989; Stiles & Snow, 1984), and (f) its neutral, generic format.

The SEQ factors respond to descriptions in the professional literature regarding the negative reactions parents have toward teachers and school meetings (Carlson et al., 1992; Christensen & Cleary, 1990; Epstein, 1988; Vickers & Minke, 1995). Measuring factors such as the level of ease or "smoothness," the degree of positive reactions or "positivity," the value or "depth" of the session, and the level of "arousal" or involvement in the process may shed light on methods to improve home-school meetings.



Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire

In his classic article, Masterpasqua (1989) defines competence as a mental health construct based on self-evaluations regarding one's ability to cope with life events. He underscores the fact that competence is not dependant on the individual's history of









acquired skills and expertise, but more on the individual's cognitive interpretations. These appraisals are key to the manner in which individuals respond to others. Under this premise, it is speculated that experiencing competence in a home-school meeting may impact on the working relationship between mother and teacher, as well as provide opportunities for empowerment (McWhirter, 1991).

Due to the availability of parallel forms for parents and teachers, the PTAQ is

highly recommended by researchers in school consultation as a useful instrument to gather information on parent's and teacher's perceptions of competence (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992). Given the often negative attitudes between parents and teachers, the PTAQ may generate useful information on attitudinal changes resulting from different treatments, as well as data regarding the perspectives mothers and teachers have toward each other (Power, 1985).

Moreover, the three items from the PTAQ that measure competence beliefs

correspond with the definitions of self-efficacy and competence in the research literature. Teachers who believe that they can help all students, including those difficult to handle, are recognized as having a high level of self-efficacy and competence (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Similarly, parenting competence reflects the parents' belief in their ability to respond to the needs of raising their children (Johnston and Marsh, 1991). These two beliefs are measured by the PTAQ.



Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory

The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory was selected because it is a well established instrument designed to measure child acting-out behaviors. Adding to its simplicity and









ease of completion, the ECBI has a complementary teacher form, the SESBI, that allows assessment of multiple settings. In her review of the literature, Eyberg (1992) provided experimental evidence of the ECBI's psychometric qualities as well as supported the applicability of the ECBI to the present study.

The ECBI yielded consistent findings in the area of discriminating between samples of clinic-referred acting-out children and non-clinical samples (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983; Eyberg & Ross, 1978; Spaccarelli, Cotler, & Penman, 1992). It has shown strong utility as a treatment outcome measure with conduct disordered children (Eyberg, 1992; Eyberg & Boggs, 1989), as a screening tool for pediatric clinics (Eyberg, 1992), as a pretreatment assessment tool (Scott, 1989), as a measure of parental risk for abuse and level of competency (Budd & Holdsworth, 1996), as a post-test measure sensitive enough to assess problem-solving treatment effects (Spaccarelli et al., 1992), and as a complementary tool to the clinical interview with parents (Eyberg & Boggs, 1989).

In conclusion, the relevance of using the ECBI in the present study is based on its established psychometric properties, its sensitivity to measure degrees of problem intensity perception, its ease of administration, its stability with short- and long-term test-retest without compromising scores to statistical regression or to developmental changes (Eyberg, 1992), and its usefulness as a comprehensive, multiple-rater evaluation of child behavior (Budd & Holdsworth, 1996).



Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory

The Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory (SESBI) is an adequate dependent measure for this study because it has a solid psychometric foundation and it complements









the ECBI in its format and structure (Eyberg, 1992). Although similar to the ECBI, the SESBI has not received as much attention in the measurement literature.

The ECBI and SESBI respond to the two relevant constructs tested in this study: competence and perceptions of the problem. First, maternal self-efficacy is associated with maternal perceptions of child behavioral problems (LaRoche et al., 1995). Second, changing the perception of the problem is central to the problem-solving and solutionfocused treatment models (i.e., cognitive restructuring, reframing). Third, the child-focus design of these instruments corresponds with the long-term purpose of effective homeschool meetings, which is to ensure the well-being of the child.



Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey

Each item of the HSMSS corresponds to home-school attitudinal survey findings from parents and teachers (i.e., time, communication, frequency). Therefore, it is relevant to assess the satisfaction and agreement level of mothers and teachers after a home-school intervention. The purpose of collecting satisfaction data is based on the current focus on consumerism in health (Jonhston & Mash, 1989; McMahon & Forehand, 1983) and in educational services (Lowenbraun, Madge, & Affleck, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Witt & Elliott, 1983). Acceptability research shows that the likelihood a treatment is used depends on the consumer's level of treatment acceptability and satisfaction (Reimers et al. 1987). In addition, gathering information on the agreement level obtained in dyads provides useful insights into process variables impacting on teamwork and collaboration (Erchul et al., 1992).









Summary

Several conclusions are drawn from the body of literature reviewed in this chapter. Effective methods of collaboration between parents and school officials are needed for all children, but minimal information is available on adult-to-adult interactional models that enhance home-school partnerships. Although different types of meetings between parents and school officials are documented, little empirical knowledge is available on the utilization of mental health professionals as facilitators in home-school partnerships with populations at risk.

Despite the many barriers to the home-school relationship, some changes show promise. A small number of studies indicate that changing practices and responding to preferences may lead to increasing the involvement of parents and teachers in the collaborative process. Some of these changes show similarities to advances in counseling methods, especially those linked to empowering models of brief therapy. Because these models reject pathology, they may motivate individuals toward positive change and collaboration.

Solution-focused and problem-solving treatment models share similar theoretical views. However, the two models differ in their clinical methods. The problem-solving model based on cognitive-behavioral theory is supported by a vast amount of empirical research. In contrast, the solution-focused model is relatively new and, while primarily supported by theoretical writings, there are several studies as well.

Only a handful of empirical studies compares the two treatment methods investigated in this study. Because defining the problem-solving treatment was inconsistent in these investigations, true comparisons with this study were few. In general,









many of these studies shared the same methodological problems and none addressed the mother-teacher dyad.

Lastly, this review provided this researcher with extensive evidence for the need, the approach, and the measure of the study. The rationales for the need of the study were based on (a) the relevance of home-school collaboration models, (b) the importance of addressing the significant adults of behaviorally disordered children, (c) the development of new child mental health service delivery paradigms, and (d) the validation of empowering brief therapy applications in diverse settings. The approach of the study is supported by attitudinal, communication, and psychotherapy research methodology. Finally, the measures of the study have technical adequacy as well as capturing the essence of relevant constructs tested in this study.















CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY


Overview of the Study

This investigation was designed to study the effects of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals (MHPs) on mothers and teachers of children with behavioral problems. The three types of meeting formats were: a solution-focused structured format, a problem-solving structured format, an a traditional, unstructured, no-format approach. Pre and post dependent measures were collected from mothers and teachers using the following measures: the Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire, the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (mothers only), and the SutterEyberg Student Behavior Inventory (teachers only). Post-test only data were collected from mothers and teachers using the Session Evaluation Questionnaire and the HomeSchool Meeting Satisfaction Survey.



Delineation of Relevant Variables Being Studied



Treatment Variables

The independent variables of the study were two different home-school meeting formats: (a) solution-focused format (Group A) and (b) problem-solving format (Group B). There also was a control group (Group C), in which MHPs followed an open,









unstructured format without guidelines. Treatment encompassed two levels of implementation: (a) training mental health professionals to use two different empowering models of therapeutic change, and (b) implementing a structured interview format. The MHPs of the control group (Group C) received neither training nor followed a structured interview format in the home-school meetings they conducted.

Training consisted of twenty hours of training and group supervision provided in periods of four- and three-hour sessions on either problem-solving or solution-focused models. They were conducted by the investigator with the assistance of the MHP's immediate supervisor. The format of the training modules covered four major areas: theory, assessment of client, communication style, and applied methods. Training included didactic presentations, case discussions, role playing, modeling, and behavioral coaching. In addition, all participants received written materials relevant to their assigned model and were administered written tests after each of the last two training sessions. By the third training session, each MHP assigned to the treatment groups conducted a home-school meeting with the mother and teacher of one of their clients.

A small-scale pilot study was conducted during the practice stage. The results

were analyzed and changes were made that improved the original design. First, the length of the home-school meeting was changed from forty five minutes to thirty minutes due to teachers' time limitations. The structured interview was drastically adjusted to fit a thirty minute meeting, but without jeopardizing the models' core approach. The changes were necessary as it was felt that the meeting needed to respond to the realities of teachers' schedules.









Second, the interview protocols underwent significant refinement, including the editing and layout of the interview content, to make it more "user friendly." An optional page printed on colored (pink) paper was included for both treatment interviews to serve as a cue to the MIP, to be accessed as an optional intervention in case the interview was not progressing as expected.

Procedures must be rigorously implemented in a study to ensure treatment

integrity (Gresham & Cohen, 1993; Shapiro, 1987). In this study, changes made after the pilot study facilitated the comfort of the MIP with the interview protocol as well as reinforced the idea of strict adherence to the particular treatment model. Second, the training practice stage with a parent and teacher dyad allowed facilitators to clarify procedures and discuss their experiences. Third, MHPs were also required to make notes during the interview and record the time the meeting started and ended. For both treatment groups, in the final stage of the interview a three-page carbon-copy form. All three participants, the MI-IP, the mother, and the teacher, at the end of the meeting received a copy of their goal or plan. These additional safeguards helped MHPs to adhere to the sequence and language of their model, to maintain their focus on developing a treatment goal or plan, and to adhere to the time restrictions. Last, by sharing all training sessions with the MHP's immediate supervisor, the researcher was able to maintain a clear focus on each of the different models presented without contamination or overlapping information from the other treatment models. Solution-focused treatment variable

The solution-focused home-school meeting format was based on the brief-therapy models of de Shazer (1984, 1985, 1988) and O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis (1989). Training









was comprehensive, and included delineating language and inquiry style specific to the model. A major focus of the training was to change the mental health professional's focus from the client's pathology to the client's strengths (Appendix C).

The structured-interview format covered the model's characteristic use of

projective questions, scaling questions, and focus on the present and the future dimension (Appendix E). In particular, talking about problems was redirected to talking about solutions by identifying exceptions to problems, reinforcing strengths and past successes, reframing complaints, and setting small, attainable goals. Problem-solving treatment variable

The problem-solving treatment variable was based on cognitive-behavioral theory (D'Zurilla, 1986; Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and applied methods of consultation, interpersonal conflict resolution, and other forms of therapeutic interventions (Jacobson, 1984; Robin & Foster, 1989; Zins & Ponti, 1990).

The training module focused on cognitive-behavioral theory and clinical methods. Each of the five basic steps of problem-solving was thoroughly covered, as was language style and inquiry techniques (Appendix D). The training addressed such assessment techniques as specificity of problem identification and adherence to the identified problem resolution focus. Because each home-school meeting involved three individuals, it was important to include such communication methods recommended by cognitive-behavioral proponents as clarification, diffusion of negative interactions, negotiation, and closure (Robin & Foster, 1989).

The problem-solving structured interview format covered the model's

characteristic five-step sequence (Appendix E) including the three major components of









problem identification: specificity, brainstorming, and selection of an alternative. In addition, MHPs in this group used a 12" x 18" white board on which they copied the participants' responses during the brainstorming stage. The visual cues provided by this method expanded association and creativity when addressing group problem-solving tasks (Javanthi & Friend, 1992).

No-format/no-training treatment variable

The MIHPs of the control group (Group C) also received specialized training,

supervision, or group meetings. They were individually directed to conduct home-school meetings and to write down relevant information that emerged in the interview on the forms provided. These forms consisted of three sheets of blank paper on which to take notes after a basic introduction, common to all three formats, was read at the beginning of the meeting. The three-page carbon- copy form incorporated in the treatment groups' interviews was not used with the control group (Appendix E).



Dependent Variables

The selection of dependent measures for the study was based on the need to measure changes in three target areas: overall evaluation of the session (i.e., Session Evaluation Questionnaire, Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey), self-perceptions of mothers and teachers regarding their own competence and that of the other (i.e., ParentTeacher Attitude Questionnaire), and perceptions of the identified child's behavioral problems based on a behavioral scale completed by mother and teacher. (Dependent Measures are included in Appendix F).









Session Evaluation Questionnaire

The outcome effects of the home-school meeting were measured using the

Session Evaluation Questionnaire - Form 4 (SEQ) developed by Stiles (1980). The SEQ is a short self-report that is easy to administer post-session self-report. This instrument measures psychotherapy process and outcome by measuring reactions to a single session of therapy (Cummings, Slemon, Hallberg, 1993; Elliott & Wexler, 1994; Fuller & Hill, 1985; Stiles, et al., 1988).

Form 4, the latest version of the SEQ, consists of 24 bipolar adjectives presented in a semantic differential format based on a seven-point range (Stiles, 1989). All items are presented in mixed fashion. The first part of the questionnaire elicits the reaction of the participant to the session or evaluative dimension ("This session was...") and is followed by eleven adjective pairs describing the session as bad-good, safe-dangerous, difficulteasy, valuable-worthless and so on.

The second part of the questionnaire addresses the immediate emotional reaction or affective dimension ("Right now I feel.. .") and is followed by another set of eleven adjective pairs (e.g. happy-sad, angry-pleased, confident-afraid). The choice of adjectives is based on "(a) classic semantic differential factors-evaluation, potency, and activity; (b) names of basic emotions-sad, happy, angry, and afraid-in the feelings section; and (c) scales whose rating distributions were not too badly skewed and whose dimension loadings were high in the small-group study.. ." (Stiles, 1980, p. 178).

Stiles and Snow (1984) found that each SEQ factor had a high degree of

consistency when measuring the same dimension. This is represented by an internal consistency index, with alpha coefficients ranging from 0.78 to 0.91 by different raters.









Jordan and Quinn (1994) reported a total SEQ Chronbach alpha internal consistency coefficient of .086 for two sessions only.

Stiles (1989) described adequate statistics in stability, giving the same rating on

different occasions. However, he explained that stability of scores should not replace test re-test reliability standings, as the SEQ responds to different targets or sessions. This latter issue is not a concern in the present study as all raters will be exposed to only one meeting or session.

Stiles and Snow (1984) reported results of factor analytical studies that revealed several distinctive and consistent factors. In the evaluative dimension they found a depth/value factor and a smooth/ease factor, while in the affective dimension of the postsession state they found two other factors: positivity and arousal. Depth and value of the session were defined as perceptions of power and value, while the smooth and ease factor represented perceptions of relaxation and comfort. Positivity referred to feelings of happiness and confidence. Arousal reflected the participant's level of activity and excitement. Hence, the SEQ generated four scores: depth score, smoothness score, positivity score, and arousal score. The higher the score in each dimension, the higher the positive reaction to the level of depth, smoothness, positivity, and arousal. Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire

The Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (PTAQ) was developed by Power (1985) and was used primarily to measure competence attitudes between parents and teachers. The PTAQ was the outgrowth of a dissertation research study completed in 1983. Items in the PTAQ were formulated after extensive interviews of nine individuals combined with a comprehensive review of related literature.









The PTAQ is a self-report that is easy to administer. It contains 22 items

presented in question form and separate versions are available for parent and teacher. An additional item (#23) is an open-ended optional directive in which parents are invited to write comments. The instrument uses a five-point Likert scale format stated as (1) not at all (2) not that much, (3) somewhat, (4) much, and (5) very much.

Validation of the PTAQ is based on factor analysis with a varimax rotation of the principal components generated by the parent-teacher data (Power, 1985). In this study, the PTAQ was administered twice to the same subjects (N=380) producing 44 items instead of the usual 22 items in the scale. The second set was considered a new set of items because each administration was based on two different and opposite child behavior vignettes, underreactive and overreactive.

Power (1985) reported a "meaningful" factor analysis based on several findings: the factor solution met Cattell's scree test and it reflected at least five percent of the total variance, the eigenvalue was 1.00, and it kept four factor loadings > .40. Using the Kaiser's analytic factor relations technique, Power found two identified dimensions or factors: teacher competence and parent competence.

The most psychometrically salient result in Power's study was the identification of two factors with adequate reliability: teacher competence (coefficient alpha .91) and parent competence (coefficient alpha .81). The first factor referred to the teacher's skills, student's needs awareness, and concern for children, while the second, parent competence, reflected similar descriptions, but applied to the parental role (i.e., parenting skills, child's needs awareness, and willingness to work with the teacher). These two









factors, however, are only represented by three items each and Power (1985) failed to produce any other significant factors with the PTAQ. Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory

The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI) was developed by Eyberg in 1974 to assess disruptive behaviors of children between the ages of two and sixteen years. The ECBI consists of 36 items describing problematic child behaviors at home.

Two areas are assessed for each item: (a) problem severity ("How often does this occur with your child?") based on a seven-point Likert scale ranging from "never" to "always" that represents the Intensity Scale and (b) problem identification ("Is this a problem for you'?") based on a "yes" and "no" answer that represent the Problem Scale. Problem severity, represented by the Intensity Scale, generates the frequency of negative behavior with a maximum score of 252 and a minimum score of 36. In contrast, the Problem Scale produces a total score ranging from 0 to 36 points. This score represents an account of the number of behaviors that are problematic to the rater.

The internal consistency coefficient was .98 for both the Problem Scale and the Intensity Scale for a nonreferred pediatric clinic sample of children aged 2 to 12, as well adolescents (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983). In addition, test-retest reliability coefficients for the Intensity Scale and Problem Scale were .86 and .88, respectively, during a three-week time span. Eyberg and Boggs (1989) also obtained reliability coefficients at three months rs = .80 and .85, and at 10 months rs = .75 and .75.

Concurrent and discriminative validity studies using the Intensity Scale score and Problem Scale score show high correlations with other well-established child assessment









instruments. Boggs, Eyberg, and Reynolds (1990) found the ECBI Problem and Intensity scores correlated higher with the Child Behavior Checklist's Externalizing Score (rs =.67, .75) than the Internalizing Score (rs =.48, .41) at ps<.0001. Similarly, Eyberg (1992) reported in 1991 a significant correlation between the Problem and Intensity ECBI scores and the Parenting Stress Index-Child Domain scores (.62, .59, ps<.0001) than the Parent Domain scores (.48, .41, ps<.0001). The ECBI also correlated with observations of children's negative affect while interacting with their mothers (Webster-Stratton & Eyberg, 1982). Although limited in the number of participants (N=35), these researchers found a discriminating relationship between the ECBI and an established temperament instrument.

Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory

The Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory Scale (SESBI) is a rating scale designed for teachers to rate the disruptive behaviors at school of children aged 2-16 (Sutter & Eyberg, 1984). It is the school counterpart of the ECBI and complements the ECBI by assisting in assessing multiple raters of the child's behavior in yet another setting. The SESBI parallels the ECBI in its format, scale types (Problem and Intensity scores), numbers of items, simplicity, and strong technical foundation. Most SESBI items are similar to ECBI items. The SESBI, however, has some ECBI items adjusted to specific school-behaviors or unique items addressing school-only related behaviors.

Research findings indicate adequate item analysis and test-retest stability

coefficients for all items, reliability, and validity for the SESBI (Eyberg, 1992). The internal consistency coefficients found were .98 for the Intensity Scale and .96 for the Problem Scale (Funderburk & Eyberg, 1989). In this same study, one-week interval test









reliability coefficients were .90 for the Intensity score and .89 for the Problem Scale. Similar high internal consistency coefficients have been reported with samples of preschool and school-age children (Eyberg, 1992).

In her review of the literature, Eyberg (1992) described several SESBI validity studies. Eyberg provided additional empirical support for the technical strength of the SESBI by including in her review adequate but unpublished research studies. Of interest, two studies Eyberg (1992) reported in her review are relevant that were conducted by. Schaughency and associates in 1986 and 1989, but were not published. This group of researchers found the SESBI to correlate highly with the Externalizing Score (rs =.75, .83) of the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1986) but poorly correlated with the Internalizing Score (rs =. 15, .16). Similar strong validity findings were reported with the Achenbach's Direct Observation Form and other sociometric procedures reflecting convergent and discriminating validity. Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey

The Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) is a short, easy-to- answer questionnaire developed by the researcher to gather post-meeting satisfaction and level of agreement data. The HSMSS consists of eight items rated on a five point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Items reflect factors identified in the literature as influential in the parent-teacher interface: communication, frequency, length of time, third party involvement, collaboration, and helpfulness of the meeting.

The HSMSS generated descriptive statistics regarding the ratings by the mothers and teachers of the meeting. Because this was not a validated scale, data collected was









applied to a survey of items related to satisfaction with the meeting and areas documented in the the literature related to communication between parents and teachers.



Description of the Population

As of 1996, the total population of Brevard County in Florida was estimated to be 450,164 (Smith, 1997). The county includes the following cities: Melbourne, Palm Bay, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Port St. John, Titusville, and Cape Canaveral. In 1995, the adult female count for Brevard County was 177,617, including 161,581 Caucasian women and 12,503 African American women (Smith, 1996).

There are a total of 74 public schools in the county, including 48 elementary

schools, 14 junior high schools, 10 high schools, and 2 special education schools. In the 1994-1995 school year the Brevard County Public School had a total of 63,723 students enrolled in grades K through 12. The May 1996 student membership report of the Brevard County Schools indicated a total enrollment of 13,886 in elementary grades, excluding special education students. The first to sixth grade regular class enrollment totals were 3,914.

Records of Circles of Care, Inc., indicate that by the end of the 1995-1996 school year there were a total of 479 child clients receiving mental health services. However, no reports were available on these children's gender, race, or ethnicity.

The population of the current study consisted of mothers of boys who met the following characteristics: (a) were enrolled in pre-kindergarten to sixth grade in the Brevard County Public Schools, (b) demonstrated manifestations of disruptive behaviors at school, and (c) were recipients of mental health services by Circles of Care, Inc. The









range of behavioral problems included overactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness, noncompliance, poor socialization, aggressiveness, defiance of authority, lack of self-control, and other minor but pervasive acting-out problems that interfered with classroom learning. Thus, when grouped together this population compared favorably to Achenbach's and Edelbrock's (1983) classification of externalizing disorders. In addition, all children received Medicaid medical coverage or their families lacked the ability to pay for mental health services.

In this study, for simplicity the child's primary female caretaker is designated

"mother." This term included the child's biological, adopted, step or foster mother as well as any female relative in charge of the child's care (e.g., grandmother, aunt, sister). Teachers in the present investigation were full-time, female, Brevard County Public School employees who taught grades pre-kindergarten to sixth. As required by the Brevard County Public School Board, all teachers participating in this study were certified teachers in the State of Florida.



Description of Sampling Procedures

Several variables were controlled in the design of this study: (a) gender of child,

parent, and teacher, (b) child's presenting problem, (c) language fluency, and (d) mother's race and ethnicity.

The purpose of controlling through inclusion and exclusion was based on several factors. The taxonomy of child disorders has been well documented in the empirical literature. Child disorders fall into two main areas: internalizing disorders and externalizing disorders (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983). In addition, Power (1985)









found differences in perceptions between parents and teachers if children were classified as overactive or underactive. Therefore, it was speculated that children with behavioral problems represented a unique population that specific characteristics which contrasts with that of children with internalizing problems.

Ethnicity and language fluency characteristics were addressed in this study by the exclusion of parents who speak English as a second language. The two largest minority groups in Brevard County Florida are African-American and Hispanic populations (Pierce, 1995). Most members of the growing Hispanic population in Brevard County speak English as a secondary language. Additionally, there is a deficit in Spanish-speaking educational and mental health professionals who could adequately address the needs of these children and their families. For this reason, this researcher included Hispanic participants whose primary language spoken at home was English. In order to control for race, the randomization of mothers followed an equal assignment of Caucasian and African-American students in each of the three different treatments.



Selection of Research Participants

This study required the participation of three groups of participants: mothers,

teachers, and mental health professionals (MHPs). Mothers and teachers were referred to as a unit or dyad. In order to control for history, treatment interaction, and other extraneous variables, each teacher/mother dyad was exposed to one of the study's three treatment conditions only. In contrast, MHPs were required to conduct multiple homeschool meetings within one treatment domain only.









Mother and Teacher Dyads

Upon obtaining permission from the Brevard County School Board and Circles of Care, Inc., mothers and teachers were invited to participate in the study. In large manila envelopes, prospective mothers and teachers were provided with a description of the study, the consent form, and an information sheet (Appendix G). The child mental health staff from Circles of Care was asked to invite clients whom they felt could benefit from a home-school meeting.

Mothers were accessed from several Circles of Care programs where their children received mental health services: outpatient, in-home intervention, and school-based programs. Because Circles of Care's staff had regular contact with mothers, they were able to clarify consent implications and the study's purposes. Seven clients from the MHP caseload volunteered for the study. Random assignment of these clients was controlled by history with MUP and home-school meetings. This was done to ensure the integrity of results of treatment effects without the interference of extraneous variables, such as history and treatment interactions.

Teachers from 24 Brevard County public schools volunteered to participate in the study. The locations of these schools covered the north, central, and south areas of the county. Teachers working at schools where there were school-based mental health programs were invited, were teachers who had students receiving outpatient or in-home mental health services. The latter group of teachers volunteered after the motherparticipant was first identified. These teachers were contacted in writing or orally by either the child's therapist or the researcher.




Full Text

PAGE 1

COMPARISON OF THREE DIFFERENT HOME-SCHOOL MEETING FORMATS CONDUCTED BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS BY MARIA ISABEL GALLARDO-COOPER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY LMVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1997

PAGE 2

I dedicate this dissertation to my family. As a youth, I learned in a retreat that "true" love is best defined as sacrifice and consistency. My history with my family, past and present, exemplifies "true" love. The constant giving fi-om my parents, my brother, my husband, and my children continues to enrich my life. I owe my interest in helping people and my pursuit for learning to my parents, Ignacio and Oti Gallardo. Together they instilled in me a strong sense of respect and caring toward all people. My mother, the greatest optimist, taught me to find goodness in all individuals, to value humility, to overcome obstacles, and to reach for the stars. My father, the best storyteller, taught me the art of humor, the power of gentleness, the energy of creativity, and the satisfaction with hard work. Both nourished my talents at all costs to them and taught me how to do "true" love. My only brother, Ignacio, an accomplished professional in his own right, expresses wonder even with the smallest of my accomplishments. He is also my close fi-iend and supporter. My loving husband George provides me with the necessary daily dosage of support. The beauty of sharing a marriage history surpasses the many life tasks we have shared together. His solid reliability and constant encouragement ensured the completion of my goals as a "family project" and once more strengthened our partnership. My two children, Nisa and Jonathan, set the balance in my scale of life's priorities. They were my cheerleaders. Nisa's loving affection and infinite patience enlightened me to the joys of having a special daughter like her. Jonathan's sense of humor and dynamic personality help me refine my goals. My children make me appreciate my role as a mother and my mission to embark on the challenges of "true" love. ii

PAGE 3

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The completion of this life task would not have been made possible without the help of many "real life angels." I will always be thankful to my chairperson. Dr. Joe Wittmer. His caring support, solid advocacy, and powerful guidance created the column that supported me for many years. My heartfelt appreciation goes to him for believing in me and never letting go of my hand throughout the journey. My sincere gratitude is extended to my committee members who facilitated the dissertation process. Dr. Janet Larsen has made me appreciate the strength of unconditional caring and encouragement as well as serving as a model of how to maximize my role as a woman. Dr. CecU Mercer has been my enthusiastic teacher, providing me with valuable feedback and positive redirectives. Dr. Max Parker expressed his support by communicating his trust in my judgment and my ideas. Special thanks are extended to my employer, Circles of Care, Inc., of Brevard County, Florida, in particular. Dr. Barry Hensel, Clinical Director, for his consistent support of my professional growth and his generous decisions to support my dissertation regardless of the extensive hours required. I want to express my immense gratitude to my colleagues and friends, Dr. Roger Kyser and Dr. Kari Mottarella, for their genuine support during the project. Carol Rieder's help was also instrumental throughout the years. iii

PAGE 4

The Circles of Care's mental health professionals who participated in the study proved to be hard-working, efficient, and highly invested in the completion of the experimental stages. To Margaret DeFrancisi, Louise Goetz, Ellen Eyseck, Dick Campbell, Judith Seigler, Tracy McKinney, Sherrie Arflin, John Lee, Dale Eshelman, Barbara Brown, Ashley Turner, Carmen Andino, Jerry Gumby, and Janet Hruzzo, thanks once more. Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to the mothers and teachers who participated in the study. In particular, I want to underscore my gratitude to the Brevard Coimty School Board for allowing the investigation to become a reality. iv

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS page DEDICATION ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii ABSTRACT ix CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 The Home School Interfece 3 Theoretical Constructs Underlying the Study 6 Statement of the Problem 1 1 Purpose of the Study 12 Approach of the Study 13 Research Questions 15 Definitions of Terms 16 Overview of the Remainder of the Paper 18 n LITERATURE REVIEW 1 9 Review of the Home-School Relationship 19 Teacher Factors 20 Parental Factors 22 System Factors 23 Meetings Between Parents and Teachers 25 The Parent-Teacher Conference 26 The Multiple Participants Meeting 28 The Family-School-Mental Health Professional Meeting 31 Counseling model 32 School consultation model 33 Family therapy model 36 Theoretical Foundations of the Study 38 V

PAGE 6

page Eco-systemic Theory 38 Empowerment Models 40 Problem-solving model 44 Solution-focused model 48 Comparative Studies 54 Support for the Need for the Study 59 Home-School Interfece 59 Population Characteristics 60 Mental Health Services in the Schools 62 Psychotherapy Treatment Models 63 Research Status 63 Support for the Approach of the Study 64 Attitudinal Research 65 Dyadic Research 66 Psychotherapy Research 67 Support for the Measures of the Study 69 Session Evaluation Questionnaire 69 Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire 70 Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 71 Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory 72 Home-School Meeting Satisfection Survey 73 Summary 74 m METHODOLOGY Overview of the Study 76 Delineation of Relevant Variables Being Studied 76 Treatment Variables 76 Solution-focused treatment variable 78 Problem-solving treatment variable 79 No format/no training variable 80 Dependent Variables 80 Session Evaluation Questionnaire 81 Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire 82 Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 84 Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory 85 Home-School Meeting Satisfection Survey 86 Description of the Population 87 Description of the Sampling Procedures 88 vi

PAGE 7

Selection of Research Participants 89 Mother and Teacher Dyads 90 Mental Health Professionals 91 Description of the Resulting Sample 91 Description of Research Design 93 Null Hypotheses 95 Description of Research Procedures 97 Circles of Care 97 Brevard County School Teachers 98 Research Procedures 98 Description of Data Analysis 100 IV RESULTS 101 Evaluation of the Meeting Variable 101 Perceptions of Competence Variable 106 Ratings of Children's Problems Variable 1 1 1 Home-School Meeting Satisiaction Variable 116 Level of Agreement Variable 121 Summary of Results 123 V DISCUSSION 125 Summary 125 Discussion of Results 125 Implications 127 Theoretical Considerations 127 Problem-solving approach 127 Solution-focused approach 128 Empowerment construct 129 Research Implications 130 Practical Implications 132 Limitations 133 Generalizability of Findings 133 Conceptual Definitions 133 Design 134 Demographic Variables 134 Measures 135 Missing Data 135 Recommendations for Future Research 136 vii

PAGE 8

page APPENDICES A COMPARISON OF TREATMENT MODELS 138 B CONTRAST BETWEEN SCHOOL MEETINGS AND COUNSELING 139 C SOLUTION-FOCUSED TRAINING 141 D PROBLEM-SOLVING TRAINING 143 E HOME-SCHOOL MEETING INTERVIEWS 145 F DEPENDENT MEAUSURES 156 G LETTERS 168 H MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS PROCEDURES 1 76 I INSTRUCTION FOR PARTICIPANTS 1 77 REFERENCES 178 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 202 viii

PAGE 9

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A COMPARISON OF THREE DIFFERENT HOME-SCHOOL MEETING FORMATS CONDUCTED BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS By Maria Isabel Gallardo-Cooper December 1997 Chairman: Paul Joseph Wittmer, Ph.D. Major Department: Counselor Education In this study mental health professionals conducted home-school meetings with mothers and teachers of elementary school children with behavioral problems. Each of the skty-six pairs (N=66) of mothers and teachers met for one half-hour. Three home-school meeting formats were compared: (a) solution-focused, (b) problemsolving, and (c) control using a traditional method. The effects of these different formats were measured in five areas: outcome evaluation of the home-school meeting, perceptions of competence, ratings of child behaviors, level of agreement, and level of satisfaction. Nine null hypotheses were tested by two randomized control group experimental designs that included pre-test and post-test measures and post-test only measures. ix

PAGE 10

Results indicated that the home-school meeting was a positive experience for mothers and that the problem-solving approach was significantly superior over the other two formats. Across the three treatment conditions, mothers found the meeting to have more depth and value than did teachers. Following the meeting, mothers in the problem-solving group perceived teachers and themselves as more competent and rated their children's behavioral problems as less intense. The majority of participants rated the home-school meeting above average in satisfaction. However, there were no statistical differences found between mothers and teachers or by approaches in levels of satisfaction and levels of agreement. In addition, no significant differences were observed with teachers in any of the dependent measures used in this study. The findings supported the involvement of mental health professionals in timelimited home-school meetings. The favorable effects found with mothers who received the problem solving approach may lead mental health professionals to consider this home-school meeting format as a direct parent-oriented intervention. Limitations of the study and recommendations for fiiture research are discussed. X

PAGE 11

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Adult-focused interventions are necessary to children. Attention to bringing the adults in children's lives together makes sense because children do not have control over important aspects of their lives, and everyone's behavior depends in part on the behaviors of others (Conoley, 1987, p. 199). Epidemiological findings indicate that one quarter of the population are minors and 12 to 15 percent of this group have a "diagnosable mental illness" (Carlson, Paavola, «& Talley, 1995; NIMH, 1990). As Doll (1996) reports in her comprehensive review, these figures may be underestimated. She concludes that poor design of epidemiological research may have miscalculated the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children by up to fifty percent. Regardless of the exact number of children in need for mental health services, scholars are seriously concerned with the failure to meet children's psychological needs in our communities (Hoberman, 1992) and schools (Carlson et al., 1995; Christenson, 1995a). Experts agree problems are compounded for children with psychological disorders because they require comprehensive (Barkley, 1990; Epstein, 1988) wellintegrated (Lusterman, 1992), multi-agency services (Weiss & Edwards, 1992; Young, 1990). In the schools, responding to the needs of children with emotional problems has been problematic (Carlson et al., 1995) and many believe the needs of today's children cannot be 1

PAGE 12

2 solely met by the schools (Christenson, Rounds & Franklin, 1992). Not surprisingly, school personnel resources are restricted. Carlson et al. (1995) found the ratio between students and school professionals to be significantly high. Understandably, school professionals report on the limited amount of time available to respond to work demands (Leitch & Tangri, 1988) and to initiate femily oriented interventions (Sheridan & Steck, 1995). Furthermore, mental health agencies have failed to serve families and children with emotional problems. In service utilization studies (NIMH, 1990), minors are grossly underrepresented and researchers report on the higher than average premature termination of child treatment (Gaines & Stedman, 1981 ; Haskett, Nowlan, Hutcheson, & Whitworth, 1991; Trautman, Stewart, &. Morishima, 1993). Considering the millions of youth who are not served in outpatient agencies, the waste of limited financial resources, and the risks ofloss of human life, these findings are alarming. Instead of increasing ambulatory services, the trend has been to overutilize more restrictive services requiring children to be separated fi-om their families and their communities (Hoberman, 1992; Tuma, 1989). As financial resources fi-om the private and government sector decrease, innovative approaches are appearing to address children's psychological needs (Adelman, 1993). The emergence of mental health service delivery in the schools is a logical response to the well-established fact that children's learning is jeopardized when they exhibit mental health problems (Doll, 1996; Webster-Stratton, 1993) and seems to provide a new paradigm for a broader system of care for families (Doll, 1996). While in recent years, several comprehensive school-based mental health programs have been implemented with success (Apter, 1992; Merril, Clark, Varvil, Van Sickle, & McCall, 1992; Paget & Chapman, 1992; Shriver & Kramer, 1993), the development of

PAGE 13

3 major programs may not be necessary. Increasing the therapeutic impact of traditional school procedures may benefit the psychological well-being of children and families just as well. The parent-teacher conference is an example of a well-established and commonly utilized communication ritual between home and school. The ultimate goal this collaborative interaction is to optimize children's educational and psychological functioning. Analyzing and improving this face-to-face encounter may shed light on the elements that enhance collaborative and empowering practices between parents and teachers (Christenson, 1995a). The Home-School Interface There are many substantial reasons for the current promotion of strong femily and school connections. First, the results of extensive educational and psychological research attest to the value of parental involvement in students' school work as predictive of their improved achievement (Christenson et al.. 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fish, 1990). Second, such laws as Public Law 99-947 mandate the incorporation of the femily in the development of educational plans for children with special needs (Ware, 1994). Third, proponents of educational reform advocate for incorporation of the fenuly and community in the educational milieu (Carlson et al., 1995; Epstein, 1988). Fourth, practice directives recommend the maintenance of vital connections among all school and outside professionals involved with children (American Psychological Association, 1993, 1994). Lastly, empirical research supports the need to inplement child interventions in multiple settings in order to maintain treatment gains (Barkley, 1990; KeUey, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Webster-Stratton, 1993).

PAGE 14

4 Despite the current interest in building home-school collaboration (Christenson & Conoley, 1992; Fine & Carlson, 1992), little experimental knowledge is available on the nature of the parent-teacher relationship (Vickers & Minke, 1995) and process variables that impact on collaborative efiforts (Christenson et al, 1992; Erchul, Hughes, Meyers, Hickman, Braden, 1992). Even less is known about the collaborative relationships among professionals working with students and their families (Ware, 1994) as well as the value of parent-teacher meetings as an intervention. Moreover, there are several reasons why collaboration is not an easy process to inclement. There is documentation attesting to the fact that mental health professionals lack information on school system dynamics and do not have the knowledge needed to effectively access resources in the educational community (Lusterman, 1992). Mmiy professionals in the helping and medical fields lack training in communication and collaborative skills (Christenson, 1995a; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Sloper & Turner, 1993). Often school attempts at collaboration often are described as superficial or not genuinely established (Carlson et al., 1992). To remedy these deficiencies, Greenwood and Hickman (1991) propose training teachers in parental involvement skills. In addition, the problems parents fece can compound the problems of home-school collaboratioa With femilies of children with behavioral problems, the partnership between home and school is not easily established (Slade, 1990). The adults who live and work with these children comprise a special population in need of increasing school support and assistance (McCamey, 1986). Instead of help, the home-school interactions of these parents are often characterized by the placing of blame and shame (Carslon et aL, 1992). Consequently, this group tends to experience significant levels of stress (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990),

PAGE 15

5 avoid school collaborative efforts (Sheridan, 1993), and report conflict in their conferences with teachers (Leicht & Tandri, 1988). Because schools may have trouble dealing with them, children who exhibit emotional and behavioral problems are often referred to mental health professionals, a trend known as "outsourcing," and one of the most common reasons for out-patient counseling referrals (Schwartz & Johnson, 1 985). An extension of ambulatory services is the inclusion of outreach mental health services sponsored by community agencies and private practitioners. This is a feirly recent venture by schools for treatment of troubled children and femilies (Weiss & Edwards, 1992). Given mental health professionals' expertise with children and femilies in crises, their role is seen as crucial in expanding therapeutic opportunities in all realms of child treatment practices (Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). Current practices in child mental health are increasingly incorporating school-based clinical services and new service delivery models such as the "fiill-service school" underscore the need for the integration of the femily in the treatment of children as the school becomes the center of health and human services delivery (Carlson, Paavola, & Talley, 1 995). With the present shrinking of funds for private and public health care services, some child mental health professionals are developing more active roles in the schools (Crespi & Fischetti, 1996; Gutkin, 1995). One area worthy of fiirther consideration for the expanded use of mental health professionals is that of the parent-teacher conference. Incorporation of therapeutic approaches based on brief therapy models seems very practical considering the time limitations imposed on parent-teacher meetings. Because it is estimated that, on average, parents and teachers meet

PAGE 16

at most twice during the school year, often parent-teacher conferences are a "one-shot" experience (Chrispeels, 1988). Thus, the parent-teacher conference could be said to parallel a brief; time-restricted, one-session therapy (Budman & Gunnan,1988). Application of recent advances in brief therapy strategies, especially those linked with empowerment and competence, might enhance the results of this type of home-school interfece. Because the parent-teacher conference is a long-standing school ritual methods that may improve this traditional mode of home-school interfece with populations at risk may prove practical and cost-eflFective. However, only limited empirical data support its collaborative efficacy. In response to the lack of information, this researcher explored the effects of different parent-teacher conferences based on conpetence-based models and conducted by a mental health professional. Due to the active role mental health professionals played in conducting these conferences, the terminology was changed from parent-teacher conference to homeschool meeting. Theoretical Constructs Underlying the Study This study is based on constructs borrowed from five theoretical models: (a) systems theory (Conoley, 1987; Minuchin & Fishman, 1981; Plas, 1986, 1992); (b) ecological theory (Anderson, 1983; Apter, 1992; Brofenbrenner, 1979; Carlson & Hickman, 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fine, 1992); (c) solution-focused theory (de Shazer, 1985, 1988; Dunst, Johanson, Rounds, Trivette, & Hamby, 1992; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989); (d) cognitive-behavioral problem-solving theory (D'Zurilla, 1986; Robin & Foster, 1989; Sinnott, 1989); and (e) social validation construct (Wolf 1978).

PAGE 17

It is possible to structure these theoretical constructs in terms of their relevant impact to this study. First, systems theory has its origins in physics and biology (Plas, 1992). It assumes that organisms function within an organized unit with active interactions and interdependence between its elements or parts. Changes in one part of the unit triggers a series of changes that affect and interact with other parts of the unit. Consequently, the whole is more important than its individual parts. Families and schools are separate systems. Both have specific rules, parts, and sets of interrelating elements. Under this assumption, children are not perceived in a linear feshion. Rather they are beings, whose behavior is dependent directly or indirectly on their femily system (Doherty & Pesky, 1992). To understand children, knowledge about the systems children interact with or belong to is imperative (Conoley, 1989). Problems are reflections of systems not individuals. Relationships are understood as dynamic, not static, in nature, reciprocal, not linear. The focus is on sequences and patterns rather than concrete units of behavior and change is more important than cause (Minuchin & Fishman, 1 98 1 ). Weeks and L' Abate (1982) differentiated between "first order change" and "second order change." In "first order change," the outlook is linear, person-focused, similar to the implementation of behavioral interventions. Changes in behavior are understood as "second order changes." As systems interact and integrate positively, the child's behavwr in5)roves and gains are maintained; that is, the child changes as a result of other system changes. Clearly a home-school meeting is an example of an intervention at the system's level and not directly at the child's level

PAGE 18

8 The second theoretical framework applied to the present study is ecological theory, based on the work of Brofenbrenner (1979, 1986). This model adds to the systemic position since it explains the relationship between multiple systems. Human development is affected by the simultaneous interactions among four levels or ecosystems: (a) the microsystem (relationships between individuals in one specific environment: femily, school peers), (b) the mesosystem (interactions between two microsystems: home-school), (c) the exosystem (specific outside systems or individuals: government agencies, parental employment), and (d) the macrosystem (the general impact of cultural and institutional patterns that affect other systems: neighborhood, city). Because systems theory and ecological theory complement each other, many in the field have opted for what they call an eco-systems fi-amework (Carlson, 1992; Fine, 1992; Lusterman, 1992). In this study, the home-school meeting is conceptualized from this perspective. The goal is to mitigate the reportedly strained relationship between systems, here the mesosystem of teachers and parents who have children with behavioral problems. The third model underlying this study is the solution-focused brief therapy approach (de Shazer, 1984, 1985; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989; Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974). Solution-focused treatment has its roots in the works of Milton Erickson and Gregory Bateson (de Shazer, 1985). These theorists perceived human nature as non-pathological, people have the internal resources to resolve problems. This view of human behavior has been incorporated into psychotherapy models by Berg and Miller (1992) de Shazer (1984, 1985), and O'Hanlon and Weiner-Davis ( 1 989).

PAGE 19

9 Important assumptions of this model include the systemic perspective that problems result from interactions within a system and that small changes can produce signiJBcant results (Krai, 1992). The focus is the identification of strengths and positive coping patterns, rather than pathology. By becoming aware of what works, individuals apply these positive repertoires to existing difl5culties. The ultimate intervention, therefore, is to reframe problems into solutions (Carlson et al., 1992). It is important to note that the concept of refraining is used by other schools of psychotherapy, including cognitive models. In this study, reframing is conceptualized in phenomenological terms (Fine, 1992; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989) which have their foundation in post-modem constructivism thinking led by Milton Erikson and Greogory Bateson. Reframing is defined as a change in an individual's view of an event from negative to positive. Thus, interventions that bring about changes in the viewing of the problem, subjective reactions, and attitudes can trigger a ripple eflfect of other positive changes. The solution-focused approach relies on to two specific practice realities: empowerment and time. Because parents of children with behavioral problems consistently experience high levels of stress, depression, shame, and guilt (Barkley, 1990; Collins & Collins, 1990; Ellenberg & Lanier, 1984; Leitch &. Tangri, 1988), an approach that focuses on strengths seems to have potential for increasing collaboratioa In addition, the reported strained relationship between parent and teacher may benefit as well from communication that reduces or excludes blaming and discouragement (Carlson et al., 1992). Based on a brief therapy approach, the solution-focused model adapts to time limitations (Adams, Pierce, & Jurich, 1991) and may be a partial solution to the "time restrictions" reported by school staff.

PAGE 20

10 The fourth theoretical position underlying this study is the social framework of the problem-solving model (D'Zurilla, 1986; Sinnott, 1989). This interpersonal problem-solving model is characterized by "ill-structured" problem definition, is contextually dependent, and is based on subjective interpersonal interactions (Luszcz, 1989; Sinnott, 1989). Resolving students' problems in a parent-teacher conference has similarities to the everyday, interpersonal problem-solving model. Because it involves different processes, this view contrasts with the highly defined problems found in cognitive problem-solving experimental studies (Meacham & Emont, 1989). According to Luszcz (1989), ejqjerimental cognitive models of problem-solving have well-structured problem definition but little relevance to ecological validity and the pragmatics of life. D'Zurilla' s (1986) interpersonal problem-solving model is derived from several areas: creativity research findings, social competence construct, stress transactional theory, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Similar to the solution-focused approach, this theoretical fi-amework is conceptualized from a human competence perspective. It is "defined as a cognitive-aflFective-behavioral process that results in the discovery of a solution to a problem" (D'Zurilla, 1986, p. 14). Thus, individuals change because they can generate solutions to problems, have acquired necessary coping skills, apply a positive orientation to problems, and follow a specific sequence of goal-oriented tasks that lead to problem resolution (D'Zurilla, 1986). It is the relevance of this latter aspect of the problem-solving model that will be investigated in this study. This sequential approach has been successfiilly applied to diflferent populations

PAGE 21

11 ( Jacobson, 1 984; Robin & Foster, 1 989) and multiple forms of school services (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990; Shure, 1993). Lastly, this study borrows from the emerging consumer-based model of service delivery. Based on the construct of social validity (Wol^ 1978), researchers and clinicians alike have become interested in the clients' level of acceptability and satisfection with treatment (Ka2din, 1980; Reimers, Wajcer, & Koeppl, 1987). This construct is seen by some as atheoretical but based on accountability needs, while others see it as based on constructs borrowed from attribution theory, social-attitudinal change, and psychological reactance theory (Cross-Calvert& Johnston, 1990; Paget, 1992). An understanding of attitudes toward treatment strategies, therefore, are crucial whenever implementing innovative treatment interventions or developing treatment programs (Cross-Calvert & Johnston, 1 990; Reimers et al., 1987). Statement of the Problem Currently, the paucity of experimental research on collaborative parent-teacher efforts is termed alarming by Christenson (1995b) and Sheridan and Kratochwill (1992). There is a desperate need to develop irmovative strategies to engage uninvolved parents (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992), to leam about variables that impact on the parent-teacher relationship (Vickers & Minke, 1995), and to produce effective home-school interventions for students with behavioral problems (Evans, Okifuji, Engler, Bromley, & Tishelman, 1993). The parent-teacher conference is a well-established form of home-school communication, but lacks empirical data on its effectiveness as a treatment interventioa As i

PAGE 22

12 mentioned previously, the limits on time and the demands for results from the traditional parent-teacher conference parallels the single session brief therapy approach. Neither examples of applications of brief-therapy models nor the inpact of mental-health professionals on any type of home-school meeting are found in the educational or psychological literature. Few, if any, studies using the mental health professionals as agents of collaboration have been conducted on parents and teachers of children with behavioral problems. Similar^, limited information is available on the degree of treatment satisfection derived from parent-teacher conferences or home-school meetings. Studying the implementation of time-limited, empowering methods in the home-school relationship of behaviorally disordered children may enhance the outcome of the many interventions these children require. If it can be demonstrated that differently structured home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals inprove the outcome of parent-teacher interactions, then implementing changes in such interactions may be an improvement over current practices. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of brief therapy techniques to empower individuals and accelerate change. The effects of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals were studied. These formats were: solution-focused; problem-solving; and non-structured format or control. In particular, the impact of these conpetence-building therapeutic methods were studied with a population described in the literature as problematic in terms of home-school collaboratioa Because the

PAGE 23

13 parents of children with behavioral problems are consumers of psychological services, it was important to study the effects of different home-school meeting formats on treatment satisfectioa In addition, to elicit the parents' and teachers' subjective evaluation of the meetings and their perceptions of conpetence and conpetence of the other participant contributes to evaluating collaborative efforts. For this reason, gathering data to measure the level of agreement reached by the mother/teacher dyad added inportant information on how these empowering models impact on collaboration. Learning the ways parents respond to different types of home-school meetings as treatment interventions could be helpful to school and mental health practitioners with treatment and educational planning. A pproach of the Study In the design of this study, the researcher recognized the multilevel processes in human interaction. Successful home-school meetings depend on a multitude of fectors. However, if the goal is to establish a method that increases the probability of change utilizing a collaborative format, there is a need to examine process variables that impact in a single meeting. This position is supported by psychotherapy outcome research (Elliott, 1995; Elliott & James, 1989). Thus, variables impacting on such collaboration processes as attitudes and subjective evaluations are key processes to explore (Arnold, Michael, Hosley, & Miller, 1994; Christenson, 1995b). The researcher assessed the effectiveness of three different formats of home-school meetings conducted by mental-health professionals. Two were competence formats, one based on brief therapy (Le., structured solution-focused) and the other based on cognitive and

PAGE 24

14 behavioral approaches (i.e., structured problem-solving). These two were then compared to home-school meetings lacking any particular format. This non-format type of conference represented the traditional unstructured format used by mental health professionals in an advocacy role. The first structured format followed relevant principles of the solution-focused brief therapy model such as focus on strengths and identification of solution patterns. The second structured problem-solving format focused on a sequence of goal-oriented tasks often used in behavioral consultation (Bergan, 1977, 1995; Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and interpersonal problem-solving strategies. Because the goal of these two treatment models was to inprove the efficiency of problem resolution within a time-limited fi-amework, it was particularly relevant to the goals and time restrictions of home-school encounters. As noted, formats to be compared in this study were: (a) the solution-focused homeschool meeting, (b) the problem-solving focused home-school meeting, and (c) the control group, the home-school meeting without a structured format. All three types were conducted by a mental health professional (MHP) who met with a mother and teacher. The two groups of MHPs conducting the experimental conditions received extensive training in either the solution-focused or problem-solving approach while the MHPs in the control group did not receive any supervision or training. In addition, the two groups of MHPs in the oqjerimental conditions followed a structured interview format during the home-school meeting that reflected their assigned treatment approach. Subjects consisted of both mothers and teachers of students receiving regular instruction who exhibited behavioral problems. Treatment effects were measured in five areas: subjective evaluation of the session, perceptions of competence, perception of the child's problem, satisfection with the home-

PAGE 25

15 school meeting, and level of agreement reached by the mother/teacher dyad. Pre-test and posttest data were collected from mothers and teachers on their perceptions of their own competence and the competence of the other, and ratings of the child's presenting problems. In addition, two post-meeting measures were completed as well by both mothers and teachers: a self-report on the subjective impact of the meeting; and the level of satisfection derived from the meeting. Research Questions The following research questions were addressed in this study: 1 . How will a solution-focused home-school meeting format conducted by a mental health professional affect each mother's and teacher's a) subjective evaluation of the meeting, b) their perceptions of conpetence, c) their perception of the child's problem, and d) their respective level of satisfaction with the meeting? 2. How will a problem-solving home-school meeting format conducted by a mental health professional affect each mother's and teacher's a) subjective evaluation of the meeting, b) their perceptions of competence, c) their perceptions of the child's problem, and

PAGE 26

16 d) their respective levels of satisfection with the meeting? 3 . Ho w will a home-school meeting conducted by a mental health professional without structured format affect the mother's and teacher's a) subjective evaluation of the meeting, b) their perceptions of competence, c) their perceptions of the child's problem, and d) their respective levels of satisfection with the meeting? 4. Which experimental group will reach the highest level of agreement within the mother-teacher dyad? Definitions of Terms Home-school meeting in this study was defined as a 30-minute meeting between the mother of the student, the current teacher, and a mental health professional. All meetings were conducted by a mental health professional who followed either a structured or unstructured interview format. The three types of home-school meetings were: (a) structured solutionfocused interview format; (b) structured problem-solving interview format; and (c) nonstructured interview format (control group). Teachers in this study were Brevard County, Florida, Public School System educators teaching pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Mothers in this study were defined as either the biological mother or female legal guardian of a male student with school behavioral problems. These elementary school students

PAGE 27

17 received mental health services from Circles of Care, a private not-for-profit mental health agency. All mothers were of low socioeconomic status either without medical insurance or receiving Medicaid fiinding for mental health services. Mothers were fluent in the English language. Experimental cells were made up of a balanced number of Caucasian and AfricanAmerican mothers. The characteristics of the participants were therefore controlled by gender, language fluency, ethnic background, race, and presenting problem of the student. Mental Health Professional (MHP) in this study was a trained professional in child and femily treatment with a minimum of a two-year graduate degree in a mental health-related field. They were employees of Circles of Care, Inc., an agency that provides children's mental health services throughout Brevard County. In order to ensure greater experimental control, the MHPs had no history with any student, mother, or teacher in the study. Training in this study encompassed extensive training of MHPs on the principles and techniques of either the solution-focused treatment or the problem-solving treatment and interviewing model. Subjective evaluation of the meeting in this study was defined as the results from the scores obtained from the Session Evaluation Questionnaire (SEQ). Originally designed for psychotherapy process and outcome research, the SEQ was applied to the home-school meeting. A mother and teacher completed the SEQ immediately after the meeting. Parent and teacher competence in this study was defined as the preand postmeeting scores obtained from the Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (PTAQ). The Parent and Teacher Forms measured two factors: 1) self-perception of competence and 2)

PAGE 28

18 perceptions of competence toward either the teacher (Parent Form) or the parent (Teacher Form). Perception of child's problem in this study was defined as the pre-test and post-test scores obtained fi-om the Eyberg Child Behavior Scale (ECBS) conpleted by the mothers and the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Scale (SESBS) completed by the teacher. The ECBS and SESBS are comparable instruments both producing two scores: the Problem Scale score and the Intensity Scale score. Satisfaction with the home-school meeting in this study was defined as a post-meeting measure obtained fi-om eight items scores fi-om the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS). Level of agreement in this study was defined as the sum score of each HSMSS item for the mother and teacher in a dyad. Overview of the Remainder of the Paper The remainder of the dissertation is organized into four chapters. A literature review of all relevant variables is covered in the second chapter. In the third chapter, the researcher presents the research methodology and specific descriptions of all research procedures. The results of the investigation are dociunented in chapter four. Discussion of the results with related analysis and recommendations is presented in the last chapter.

PAGE 29

CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW When the complex, public world of school and the idiosyncratic world of family come together, the kaleidoscope of interactions created can be vibrant, nurturing, explosive, patronizing, or suffocating (Power & Bartholomew, 1987a, p. 498). This chapter presents a review of the literature relevant to the purpose of this study. The first section covers factors impacting on the home and school relationship and different types of home-school meetings. The second section presents an overview of the theories and applications of the models supporting this study, as well as an analysis of comparative studies. The subsequent sections synthesize the supportive evidence for the need, the approach, and the measures of this study. The final section summarizes the major points discussed in this chapter. Review of the Home-School Relationship Families and schools share the responsibility of socializing children. Despite the long history of this vital interaction and the current directives for home-school collaboration promoted by scholars (Christenson, 1995b; Christenson & Conoley; 1992; Epstein, 1988; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Henderson, Hunt, & Day, 1994; Lawler, 1991; Shea & Bauer, 1991), little empirical research is available on effective adult-to-adult home-school communication models. Further problems appear when parents and school officials are 19

PAGE 30

20 pressed to collaborate in interventions with students already perceived as "disturbing to others" (Schwartz & Johnson, 1985). Many factors have been identified that interfere with home-school communication (Power & Bartholomew, 1987a, 1987b; Vickers & Minke, 1995), collaboration (Christensen et al., 1992), and effective intervention (KeUey, 1990). A review of the literature revealed three major barriers to the home-school relationship: teacher, parent, and system factors. Teacher Factors Educational publications identily teachers' negative attitudes as a major contributor to the schism between home and school. Teachers often perceive parents as incompetent, intrusive (Fine, 1990), deficit-oriented, and apathetic (Christenson, 1995a). Biased myths prevail in schools, such as "what they do not know, won't hurt them," "parents do more harm than good" (Rotter, Robinson, & Fey, 1987, p. 6), and conferences "are a waste of time" (Lawler, 1991, p. 30). Mixed messages may be communicated to parents as surveys indicate schools want parental involvement but teachers find parents "unsupportive" and encourage them to keep a "hands ofiP' attitude (Gartner, 1988; Thomburg, 1981). Attributional research supports these negative impressions. For example, teachers tend to assume responsibility for children's successes but are more apt to blame the family for children's failures (Muneno & Dembo, 1982). By teachers "blaming the mother" (Collins & Collins, 1990), "pathologizing" parents of special education students (Slade,

PAGE 31

21 1990), and externalizing responsibility to child temperament and family dysfunction (Kelley, 1990), teachers turn their backs to a valuable resource for problem resolution. Furthermore, teachers, regardless of years of experience, report communication with parents and attempts at parental involvement to be the most stressful and anxietyproducing aspects of their jobs (Evans & Tribble, 1986; Galinsky, 1988; Johns, 1992; Morgan, 1989; Rotter et al, 1987; Seefeldt, 1985). According to Greenwood and Hickman (1991) teachers lack self-efificacy in their efforts to engage parents and need training in parental involvement skills. Others report teachers fail to reach out to parents because they lack initiative (Dombusch & Ritter, 1988), fear litigation, and experience work-related fatigue (Lawler, 1991; Silverstein, Springer, & Russo, 1992). Also, teachers' communication deficits have been identified as barriers (Slade, 1990). Parents often disengage when teachers use "jargon" (Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; Lawler, 1991) and when teachers project a superior, "expert" role (Munn, 1985; Silverstein et al., 1992). Consequently, rather than facilitating dialogues with parents, teachers tend to dominate conversations (Allison, 1994; Seefeldt, 1985) or give lectures (Riepe, 1990). In addition, there is documentation attesting that the attitude teachers project is pivotal to parent-teacher communication. A clear expectation of parental involvement in school generates engagement (Christenson, 1995a). Maintaining a positive attitude throughout the conference (Slade, 1990), starting with a positive observation of the student (Hamachek & Romano, 1984; Lawler, 1991), ending on a positive note (Cooper, 1977), and focusing on the student's strengths are reported to increase disclosure and cooperation (Murphy, 1996). Rotter and his associates (1987) recommend leading

PAGE 32

22 interactions toward solutions instead of questions about the problem, and, more importantly, to communicate hope at the beginning of the conference. Parental Factors The second factor attributed to poor home-school relationships can be termed parent factors. Surveys identify a range of parental reactions, including feeling accused, angry, patronized, unheard, guilty, inadequate, and fearful when communicating with school professionals (Margolis, 1991; Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; SUverstein et al., 1992). Parents express a sense of powerlessness because they lack the professional expertise to access the complexities of the educational system (Fine, 1990; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991). Thus, on the part of the parents, family-school contacts often lead to blame, tension, fears, and biased assumptions (Carlson et al., 1992; Galinsky, 1988; Lawler, 1991). Other parent factors associated with negative home-school relationships include low socioeconomic status (Davies, 1988; Shriver & Kramer, 1993), family composition (Carlson, 1992; Dombush & Ritter, 1988), ethnic background (Harry, 1992; DelgadoGaitan, 1991; Powers, 1991; Weiss & Edwards, 1992), employment status (Leitch & Tandri, 1988; MacMillan and Tumball, 1983), abuse history (Tharinger & Horton, 1992), maternal insularity (Whaler, 1980), parental expectations (Kelley, 1990), poor health of parent (Leitch & Tandri, 1988), negative educational history (Menacker et al., 1988, in Greenwood & Hickman, 1991), child's disability (Lucyshyn & Albin, 1993; Lusterman, 1992), students' grade level (Eccles & Harold, 1993), and behavioral disorders in children (Barkley, 1990; Paget & Chapman, 1992).

PAGE 33

23 Parents may also maintain an adversarial position when the school does not meet their expectations. Parental knowledge and the amount of information divulged by schools negatively correlate with attitudes about communication with schools (Arnold, Michael, Hosley, & MiUer, 1994). These authors concluded that when parents know more about their rights, they became disillusioned with the school's failure to meet educational standards. In addition, the wave toward consumerism mobilizes parents to take assertive actions and to challenge professional authority (Seligman & Darling, 1989). System Factors System variables such as excessive working demands, large classes, hmited professional support for collaborative efforts (Ellenburg & Lanier, 1984; Swap, 1992), and lack of time (Rotter et al., 1987) contribute to limited efforts dedicated to parentteacher partnerships. The average length of time of parent-teacher conferences and school counseling interventions is 20 minutes (Littrel, Malia, & Vanderwood, 1995; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989; Myrick, 1987). Feeling rushed and working under time pressures interfere building a relationship and developing a plan of action between the parent and the teacher, especially when problems arise. For this reason, allowing "enough time" for the conference, although a luxury at times, is considered by some a deciding factor (Rotter et al., 1987). These system problems lead scholars to recommend administrative changes to support home-school meetings (Cochran & Dean, 1991; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991; Harry, 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989). Inevitably, the high levels of frustration between parents and teachers lead to blaming "the system" for negative outcomes (Carlson et al.,

PAGE 34

24 1992; Slade, 1990). Projection of blame feeds more negativism, disengagement, and inertia. However, the schism between family and school is not hopeless, as a small number of studies suggest positive opportunities for change. A critical theme in these findings is that parents and teachers differ significantly in their preferences of communication formats. Four studies support this position. First, the work of McCamey (1986) is very relevant to this study. In his survey of over 406 parents and 226 teachers of students with emotional and behavioral problems, he foimd that teachers prefer to communicate with parents in lEP meetings or parent-teacher conferences involving other adults. In contrast, parents liked best spontaneous and informal meetings, including the traditional parentteacher conference. These findings suggest that teachers of students with emotional and behavioral problems may prefer professional support in their meetings, while parents of these children may be intimidated by the size and formality of multi-professional groups. Similar findings were reported by three other researchers. In England, Munn (1985) found that parents prefer teachers to disclose more specific information about their children's progress, while school professionals prefer to provide legal, organizational, and economic information. Hispanic mothers (Harry, 1992) and parents of mildly handicapped children (Arnold et al., 1994) favor informal, face-to-face exchanges with school officials over written communications and formal meetings. Another group of studies suggests parents may be more malleable than previously described. Parents report a more positive experience than teachers in parent-teacher conferences (Carlson et al. 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989). The fi-equency of contacts may be a mediating factor (Powell, 1978) as studies indicate parents want to meet more

PAGE 35

25 often with school officials (Arnold et al., 1994, Carlson et al., 1992; Harry, 1992; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989). There is documentation attesting to the fact that changes in practices also encourage collaborative efforts, even with populations described as difficuh to access (Delgado-Gaitan, 1991). New and promising programs have been recently described in the literature (Christenson, 1995a; Dunst et al., 1992; Paget & Chapman, 1992). Empirically, Epstein and Dauber (1991) demonstrated that school practices were more conducive to positive parental participation than such parental status variables as socioeconomic and educational levels. Lawler (1991) also reported that when teachers communicate to parents that they are needed as partners, parents become more cooperative and receptive. Additional information is needed regarding which forms of adult-to-adult collaborative methods of communication best benefit parents and teachers with problematic children. Because an extensive review of the literature failed to identify any reports on home-school meetings as conceptualized in the present study, the literature review presented here will address meetings that, while different fi"om, have aspects pertinent to the purpose of this study: (a) the parent -teacher meeting, (b) the multiple participant meeting, and (c) the parent-teacher-mental health professional meeting. Meetings Between Parents and Teachers Interactions between teachers and parents can be for better or worse. Placing parents and teachers in the same room does not necessarily make the experience fruitful. Inappropriate procedures and inadequate skills and knowledge can create greater problems than may have existed before the meeting (Rotter et al., 1987, p. 6).

PAGE 36

26 The Parent-Tfiflcher Conference Although many school professionals meet with parents individually (Simon, 1984; Wise, 1986), the most common home-school encounter is the traditional parent-teacher conference. This meeting is defined as a cooperative interaction (Henderson, Hunt, & Day, 1994) between a parent and a teacher to discuss the student's progress, to exchange developmental information, and to problem-solve (Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989). The prevailing approach to this encounter is formatted as a problem-solving meeting in which teachers are perceived as "problem-solvers" (Henderson et al., 1994) and responsible for the burden of the conference's success (Cooper, 1977; Rotter et al, 1987). The first group of writings below include recommendations by experienced teachers (Bjorklund & Burger, 1987; Gelfer, 1991; Howie & Simmons, 1993; Riepe, 1990). In general, educators advise colleagues to employ organizational and logistical maneuvers before, during, and after the conference. These strategies include: accommodating scheduling demands, being on time, gathering student's materials to share with parents, analyzing the student's strengths and weaknesses, selecting a warm and inviting setting, and following with post-conference activities. In addition, conferences led with a focus have direction and enhance the opportunity to bring closure to pending problems (Lawler, 1991; Rotter et al., 1987). Teachers have applied a variety of creative modifications to the parent-teacher conference: participation of the student (Little & Allan, 1989; Seabaugh & Schumaker, 1981), pre-conference checklists and post-conference reports (Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989; Hamachek & Romano, 1984; Gelfer & Perkins, 1987), newsletters (Gelfer, 1991), involvement of the principal (Lawler, 1991), and telephone conferences (Hamachek &

PAGE 37

27 Romano, 1984; Gelfer, 1991; Gelfer & Perkins, 1987; Little & Allen, 1989; Morgan, 1989). The purpose of the meeting defines which approach is applied. Academic progress-report conferences and special education referral conferences require assembling a representative sample ofthe student's work (Lawler, 1991). In contrast, disciplineproblem conferences require careful attention to affective responses and communication skills (Lawler, 1991; Lombana & Lombana, 1982). This next group of writings is by educators (Cooper, 1977; Lawler, 1991; Levy, 1992; Morgan, 1989; Seefeldt, 1985; Slade, 1990; Walker & Singer, 1993; Wolf, 1989), counselors (Lombana & Lombana, 1982; Wittmer & Myrick, 1980) and psychologists (Christenson, 1997; Rotter et al., 1987; Wise, 1986). They are based on the empirical findings of counseling research applied to the parent-teacher conference communication. The general consensus is that communication skills are the key to good home-school relationships (Slade, 1990). Interestingly, many of the earlier writings on parent-teacher conferences reviewed and recommended by Cooper (1977) support the relationshipbuilding approach advocated by this group of scholars. The counseling-oriented group advocates for the application of Rogerian principles of relationship-building and communication skills. For example, teachers need to practice genuineness, warmth, empathy, respect, acceptance, specificity, self-disclosure, and immediacy (Auten, 1985; Friend & Cook, 1992; Lawler, 1991; Rotter et al., 1987). Communication skills required include paraphrasing, open-ended questions, reflection, summarization, non-verbal communication, "I" messages, and active listening (Lawler, 1991; Morgan, 1989; Reis, 1988; Rotter et al, 1987; Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). In

PAGE 38

28 addition, being patient so that frustrated parents can 'Vent" facilitates interactions that can lead to problem resolution (Margolis & Brannigan, 1990; Slade, 1990). Despite the wealth of logical recommendations for successful parent-teacher conferences, empirically controlled findings are rare. Most studies on parent-teacher collaborative conferences were qualitative in nature, with measurements heavily dependent on surveys on satisfaction and attitudes. Specifically, process research is scarce. Even the most recent educational psychology dissertation on the problem-solving approach to the parent-teacher conference communication process (Allison, 1994) was descriptive in nature. Parent-teacher conference theoretical models seem to be lacking as well (Lawler, 1991). Without this conceptual base, the meetings' results may rest on a weak foundation (Friend & Cook, 1992). Except for the Parent-Conferencing Communication Model (Rohwer, 1991) and the LAWLER Method (Lawler, 1991), most of the educational literature reviewed lacked the structure of a well orchestrated theoretical conceptualization. Instead, the popular "how-to" professional literature borrows segments from Rogerian counseling methods and cognitive-based problem-solving concepts. The lack of a comprehensive theoretical base may explain the almost amorphous formats of parent -teacher conferences found in the literature. The Multiple Participants Meeting This model is best represented by the multi-disciplinary team meeting. It is defined as a formal meeting in which families meet with home-based and district-level school personnel; these meetings are called Child Study Team or Individualized Educational

PAGE 39

29 Program (lEP) conferences. In general, this type of meeting contrasts with the traditional parent-teacher conference in the large number of multi-disciplinary participants, the implementation of educational law parameters, and the complex level of group decisionmaking tasks. Group dynamics are at the forefront of this approach, as several individuals are involved in the process of decision-making, negotiation, and conflict resolution (Kaiser & Woodman, 1985). Despite the well-established ritual of IE? meetings, parental participation continues to be problematic (Vaughn, Bos, Harrell, & Lasky, 1988). Other variations on the multiple participant meeting are: (a) several school officials meet with the family to address an impending issue, often a crisis, and (b) family and community professionals (e.g.,, judicial system, residential treatment staff, school staf^ social welfare agencies) meet to discuss progress and goals. Private practitioners working with adolescents advocate for "multi-helper" meetings, which may include teachers, school personnel, and other community agency representatives (Madanes, 1996, personal communication, February 3, 1996; Selekman, 1993). Although this type of meeting is highly recommended by family therapists, research on "multi-helper" meetings is limited. Two relevant articles are discussed below. First, Epanchin and Owens (1982) report on observational and survey findings of multidisiplinary meetings in a residential school for children exhibiting emotional disturbances. The number of participants in the meetings ranged from seven to fourteen, with a large, skewed representation favoring mental health professionals such as psychiatric and psychological consultants, community mental health representatives, and special education teachers. Parents, children, and residential staff were involved as well. The meeting, however, was conducted by a student advocate taking the role of a case

PAGE 40

30 manager or teacher-counselor liaison. The study also arranged all pre-meeting coordination, including "psychologicaUy" preparing parents and students for the meeting. Results indicated a high level of participant satisfaction. The average length of time of meetings was 53 minutes and parents were rated as the most active participants. The most popular topic discussed addressed school behavior followed next by home behavior. Although not detailed in the report, the format of the meeting suggested a focus on broad problem-solving. The design flaws noted below raised questions regarding the weight that should be given to the resuUs of this study. First, there were no control groups, only a minimum number of meetings were analyzed (N=16), and there were variations in the composition of the groups, among other threats to internal validity. Second, in these meetings, the preponderance of mental health-related representatives and teachers specializing in emotionally disturbed students may have unduly influenced the positive therapeutic effects seen in the results. It is speculated that the mental health professionals and special education specialists may have used facilitative communication skills and practiced relationship-building processes. The setting, too, presents a problem. Residential programs work intensively with children and families and have the advantage of collaboration. Consequently, these realities do not apply to the typical school meetings between parents and school officials. The second study was conducted by Goldstein and Tumball (1982) using better methodology. They compared a control group with two strategies in lEP meetings to increase parental participation: (a) a pre-meeting questionnaire sent to parents (eliciting information on the goals for the student, academic achievement potential, and so on)

PAGE 41

31 foUowed by a telephone caU and (b) the involvement of the school counselor as a parent advocate in the meeting. Data were coUected by the observer using a coding system of interactions by an observer and participants were given a post-meeting satisfaction survey. Goldstein and TumbaU found the involvement of the counselor to be the more effective strategy to increase parental disclosure and participation. For example, initial inquiries from counselor-advocates to lEP members resulted in an increase in parental interactions. In addition, counselors' interactions were followed by parental comments and counselors facilitated the dialogue by the using summarization and direct inquiries to the parents. Despite these strategies, there were no differences in post-meeting satisfaction among the three groups, although the authors observed that the group receiving the pre-meeting questionnaire had more fathers and mother-father dyads attending the meeting than did the other groups. In conclusion, the Uterature found supported the appUcation of the dynamics of positive communication recommended by counseling professionals. The studies also described effective interventions, such as pre-meeting preparation of parents and the involvement of a family/student advocate in the meeting. This latter finding is significant, as it supports the involvement of a mental health professional in home-school meetings with parents of children with behavioral problems. The Familv-School-Mental Health Professional Meeting The structure of this type of meeting is usually defined as a triad representing three systems: the family, the school, and the clinician. The purpose of this meeting is to resolve a problem or to prevent a problem from relapsing or escalating. This triadic structure fits

PAGE 42

32 best the approach applied in the present study. Clinicians, as defined by this model, are trained professionals in the counseling, consultation, and family therapy fields working in the schools or the community. These type of meetings dififer in both orientation and therapeutic approach. They are based on the following models: (a) the counseling model (Duncan & Fitzgerald, 1969; Lombana & Lombana, 1982; Nicoll, 1992), (b) the school consultation model (Carlson et al., 1992; KeUey, 1990; Sheridan, 1993; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992), and (c) the family therapy model (Murphy & Duncan, in press; Selekman, 1993; Weiss & Edwards, 1992). Counseling model In the Counseling Model, school and outpatient counselors meet often with teachers and parents to assess and resolve problems (Valentine, 1992). According to Cooper (1977), the involvement of school counselors is best implemented whenever problems are severe, there is an impasse with progress, or there are difficulties with problem solving. Others recommend the participation of counselors in parent-teacher conferences because counselors (a) facilitate interaction and neutralize the tension between the parent and teacher (Silverstein et al., 1992), (b) strengthen parent -teacher collaboration and disclosure (Lombana and Lombana, 1982; West & Idol, 1996), and (c) increase trust among parents from different ethnic groups (Colbert, 1991). Moreover, the involvement of counselors in parent-teacher conferences has been associated with a subsequent reduction in absenteeism, drop-out rate, and discipline problems (Duncan & Fitzgerald, 1969). Despite the reported benefits of the school counselor in parent-school contacts, school counselors regret the limited time allocated in their busy schedules for more familial interventions (Littrel et al., 1995; Nicholl, 1992).

PAGE 43

33 Nicoll (1992) delineates a family-systems model for the school counselor. His model has nine stages and is designed for parent-teacher conferences, pre-referral assessments, and other forms of communication with parents. The role of the school counselor is portrayed as that of an expert in family and school assessment, counseling, and consultation. This type of intervention is brief (i.e., a maximum of three sessions). The counselor gathers data on familial patterns and student's school behavior in order to recommend teacher-child, parent-child or more extensive family therapy intervention. It is unclear at what stage in the intervention process parent and teacher should meet together and what methods are employed to facihtate parent-teacher collaboration. Outpatient MHPs also participate in home-school meetings, often serving as advocates for the child cUent (Espanchin &. Owen, 1982). Their expertise with femilies in crises, compounded with an empathetic, sensitive approach, provides a secure atmosphere for intervention with parents of emotionally disturbed children (Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). This model of intervention is highly advocated by clinicians but lacks empirical confirmation. School consultation model A new breed of school psychologists has adjusted the consuUation service delivery to an eco-systemic approach. These professionals meet with parents and teachers in a collaborative fashion (Fine, 1990). Christenson and Cleary (1990), proponents of this model, recommend conducting consultations with parents and teachers and keeping a focus on the following needs: (a) the need to support parents, (b) the need to mutually identify problems and develop interventions, and (c) the need to understand the reciprocal forces between home and school, as reflected by overlapping roles.

PAGE 44

34 The first model of home-school consultation is best represented by behavioral consultants and supported by extensive experimental findings. At the crux of this approach, behaviorists utilize an interview protocol to gather detailed information fi-om teachers and parents (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990; KeUey, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Wielkiewicz, 1992). The process requires several meetings in order to gather baseline data and follow a specific sequence in problem analysis. Because behaviorism is a popular "language" in schools, this approach is often attractive to school personnel (Brown, Prywansky, & Schulte, 1987). In her book, Kelley (1990) delineates the school-home-note-intervention approach The goal of this intervention is to change a school problem, either academic or behavioral, using mutually agreed upon goals and contingencies applied to home and school. The parent's responsibility is to read the daily school note and accordingly administer a positive or negative consequence at home. Kelley' s interviews follow Bergan' s (1977) format of problem identification, problem analysis, plan implementation, and problem evaluation. The conjoint behavioral consultation model (CBC) is another extension of the behavioral consultation approach (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and is primarily associated with Sheridan and her associates (Galloway & Sheridan. 1994; Sheridan, Kratochwill, Elliott, 1990; Sheridan «& Kratochwill; 1992). In contrast to KeUey's approach, the purpose of conjoint behavioral consultation is to ameliorate a problem exhibited at school, at home, or at both settings (Sheridan &. Colton, 1994). Analysis of the CBC model yields a strong emphasis on problem definition, problem talk, and problem-solving steps (Sheridan, 1993). This process requires the

PAGE 45

35 "extemalization" of the problem and places the focus on the child. Parent, teacher, and consultant define the problem by its fi-equency as well as by the antecedents and consequences of behavioral sequences. By collecting data fi-om multiple settings, this model incorporates home and school in the intervention phase. CBC quasi-experimental studies with multiple baselines have shown significant improvements of targeted behavior when applied to internalized disorders (Sheridan & Colton, 1994; Sheridan et al. 1990) and underachievement of children (Galloway & Sheridan, 1992). Although lacking in external validity, these investigations are well controlled and combine observational and outcome measures. Sheridan & Kratochwill (1992) report parents and teachers rate the method favorably both in consultation satis&ction scales and in collaborative efforts. Of interest, parental satisfaction with face-to-face conjoint consultation was higher than with homeschool notes (Galloway & Sheridan, 1992). These positive findings may also relate to the high fi-equency of face-to-face contacts associated with positive attitudes toward school (Arnold et al., 1994; Harry, 1992; McCamey, 1986). In addition, the daily feedback required with this approach may provide the necessary cues to maintain treatment adherence among all parties involved (Meichenbaum & Turk, 1987). Further analyses of the available CBC research reveals that the problems addressed in these studies are mild to moderate in degree (e.g., math problems, shyness). It is questioned, however, if parents of children with behavioral problems may respond diflferently to CBC. Because these parents are described in the Uterature as experiencing significant stress and clinical depression (Barkley, 1990; WebsterStratton & Hammond, 1990), it is speculated the CBC model may require additional parent-oriented

PAGE 46

36 interventions. Furthermore, CBC may not fit the realities of the busy or overwhelmed teacher and parent. The model demands a considerable amount of time as well as a high level of motivation and commitment. In addition, little is known on how CBC interacts with status variables such as race and ethnicity inherited in special populations. The second model of home-school consultation reflects the current interest in empowering therapeutic models (Carlson et al, 1992). Based on solution-oriented theory, the parent, teacher, student, and consultant meet in what they caU "femily-school meetings." This approach focuses on the strict implementation of solution-focused language and techniques using an interview outline. Instead of focusing on problem delineation, the school consultant investigates resources, strengths, and exceptions to the problem. Only two studies were found that used the solution-oriented consultation. First, Carlson and her associates (1992) report promising results fi-om a pilot study. In particular, adolescent students responded positively to this approach as the empowering methods contradicted their negative expectations of blame fi-om parents and teachers. However, teachers' rated this method were unsatisfactory because the method "did not focus enough on problems." In the second study, solution-oriented consultation was compared to behavioral consultation with teachers only (Landis, 1992). There were no significant differences between the two approaches as measured by self-eflBcacy, attribution, reports of students' behaviors, and treatment acceptability. Family therapy model Family therapists (Colapinto, 1988; Ron, Rosenberg, Melnick, & Pesses, 1990) advise against a family-only focus in child treatment without incorporating secondary

PAGE 47

37 systems such as the school. Furthermore, school referrals for family therapy may need to examine the family's relationship with the school, as the problem may be related to multiple systems conflicts. AppUcation from system enthusiasts has produced comprehensive models to assess (Power & Bartholomew, 1987a, 1987b) and intervene (Fine, 1992) in home-school interventions. An example would be Lusterman's (1985, 1992) recommendation to remove the child with behavioral problems from the center of the family and school conflict. The Ackerman Family Therapy Institute began conducting school meetings in New York City schools in the early 1970s (Weiss & Edwards, 1992). Since then, famUy therapists have increased their presence in schools. Valentine (1992) recommends that school psychologists and guidance counselors to participate in "brief femily intervention" when teachers' interventions fail. Information on this type of multi-systems meeting was found in the clinical case-study literature, not in empirical publications. A different, cost-effective, and promising family-based intervention is the "home consultant" model (Evans et al., 1993; Evans, Okifuji, & Thomas, 1995). A paraprofessional, under the strict supervision of a psychologist, provides outreach services to families with behaviorally disordered children. The purpose of the intervention is to enhance parenting, increase home and school communication, and prevent school dropout. Results show positive outcome in improving aU three areas. However, these articles failed to provide specific information regarding the home-school commimication methods employed. In summary, several types of home-school meeting are currently available to help resolve problems with children. Depending on the presenting problem, some demonstrate

PAGE 48

38 more promise in collaborative adult-to-adult communication methods than others. The involvement of advocates in parent-teacher meetings also show beneficial efifects, regardless of the professional's orientation or type of meeting. Theoretical Foundations of the Study At the most basic level, the home-school interface promoted in this study is rooted in the belief that the joining of family and school provides the best structure to help children with behavioral problems. To accomplish a collaborative alliance between parent and teacher, this researcher considers empowerment models of therapeutic change as the vehicles to establish successful relationships. The following sections expand on the constructs borrowed fi-om several theories supporting the conceptualization central to this study: eco-systemic theory and empowerment treatment models. Eco-systemic Theory Educators and psychologists support using the ecological perspective with children, as it is comprehensive, developmentally sensitive, and con^lementary to other theories (Christenson 8c Cleary, 1990, Dunst & Trivette, 1987; Swap, 1992). The model's flexibility expands on the community psychology thinking of the 1960s (Plas, 1986) as it integrates different ideational models and moves clinical practice outside the professional's office. An example of the popularity of this fi^amework in applied methods of practice is found in the consistent references made to eco-systemic theory in four recently published books on collaboration (Christenson & Conoley; 1992; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Friend & Cook, 1992; Idol, Nevin, & Paolucci-Whitcomb, 1994).

PAGE 49

39 Eco-systemic theory has also guided the conceptualization of the parent-teacher relationship (Smith & Hubbard, 1988). Power and Bartholomew (1987a) incorporated the available body of literature and formulated an eco-systemic framework depicting five patterns of parent-teacher interaction: (a) avoidance (i.e., rigid patterns where information is not disclosed), (b) competition (i.e., battle for dominance), (c) enmeshment (i.e., overinvolvement without clear boundaries or balanced delineations of responsibility), (d) unidirectionality, (i.e., avoidance by one party), and (e) collaboration (i.e., clear boundaries, flexibility to adapt, and reciprocal communication). In addition, the triangles and coalitions developed in relationships afifect children's behaviors. Children may relate well with significant others individually, but may be disturbed by the conflictual relationship between parent and teacher. Another example of the interrelations between the parent-teacher relationship and children is represented by the findings of Smith and Hubbard (1988). In their exploratory study with pre-school children, they found a higher correlation between frequency and warmth of parent-teacher verbal contacts and child-initiated interactions with teacher. Thus, the contextual view of eco-systemic theory shifts the position of "blaming the victim." Organizations and systems have the responsibility to modify, create, expand, and adapt approaches to address the needs of the individuals they serve. This systemic perspective reflects the popular slogan, "the consumer is always right." If parents do not communicate, the professional should assume the responsibility of implementing new paradigms to reach the hard to reach. This diflScult task is accomplished by adopting the attitude that individuals are competent and resourcefiil.

PAGE 50

40 Expanding on this positive view of human nature are the two theoretical positions underlying the experimental conditions of this study: problem-solving and solutionfocused models. Both approaches share in their attempts to build on empowerment and competence. A discussion will follow on the similarities and differences of these two models from a theoretical, empirical, and applied perspective. Empowerment Models The competence paradigm is rapidly gaining followers in the clinical field (Masterpasqua, 1989; McWhirter, 1991). The foundation of this framework is based on the contributions of such competence-based theorists as Adler, Rogers (Murphy, 1996) and Bandura (Masterpasqua, 1989), as well as by the influence of community psychology (Rappaport, 1987), and feminist therapy (McWhirter, 1991). New models of brief therapy and psychotherapy outcome research provide fiirther support for the application of competency-based interventions. The terms competence and en^werment are used interchangeably in the literature reviewed. According to McWhirter (1991), counselors who practice empowerment: (a) believe in their client's abilities, (b) conceptualize the presenting problem as an interaction between the client and the client's systems (i.e., individuals do the best they can with their realities), (c) maintain a collaborative approach where client and counselor have expertise (i.e., a balance of power between client and counselor), (d) combine the understanding of how the system's power dynamics hinder client growth with coping plan (i.e., support groups, community involvement), and (e) provide the development of skills (i.e., brainstorming, refraining, assertiveness).

PAGE 51

41 Important in McWhirter's model is the view that empowerment is a relational construct, not a static characteristic. The perception of powerlessness only exists when individuals become aware of the relationship between their power level and that of the system. To regain power, individuals need to confront the system by utilizing their cognitive and behavioral abilities to develop finitful coping alternatives. Thus, empowerment constructs expand on systemic theory by not only avoiding placing blame on the victim, but also by not allowing individuals to passively blame the eco-system. The impact of the empowerment movement is found in the incorporation of competence-based strategies in the application of well-established treatment methods. For example, Hayes and Hesketh (1989) recommend focusing on targeting positive behaviors over "problematic" behaviors in behavior therapy. Cognitive scientists are engaged in studying the development of "healthy thinking" patterns (Kazdin, 1992). In addition, clinical strategies incorporating empowerment are surfacing in many different treatment applications, including consultation (Witt & Martens, 1988), early childhood intervention (Paget, 1992), program planning (Christenson, 1995a), assessment (Dimst, Trivette, & Hamby, 1996), and family treatment (Dunst et al., 1992; Kalyanpur & Rao, 1991; Waters & Lawrence, 1993). The clinical framework of empowerment is driven by "strengths perspectives" (De Jong & Miller, 1995). The role of the clinician is to unveil latent abilities, identify vmclaimed talents, activate resources, and nurture new proficiencies (Masterpasqua, 1989; Singer & Powers, 1993). Furthermore, by focusing on strengths, the probabilities of ensuring a sense of self-efiBcacy increase significantly, even in brief therapy (Budman, Hoyt, & Friedman, 1992; Friedman & Fanger, 1991; Miller, 1996, personal

PAGE 52

42 communication, September 26, 1996). Self-efficacy (i.e., "I can do that.") expands the self-psychology construct of self-esteem (i.e., "I like myself") and directs individuals to take action. Lee and Bobko (1994) report on the connection between self-efficacy and performance as self-efficacy is perceived as a central mediator of behavioral change. It is speculated that the application of empowering, competency-based homeschool interventions may motivate individuals toward positive, cooperative action (Murphy, 1996). This is supported empirically by the findings fi-om Hoover-Dempsey, Bassler and Brissie (1992), who found a relationship between parental self-efficacy and parental school involvement. Similarly, in their review of the literature. Greenwood and Hickman (1991) concluded that successful initiatives to engage parents were positively related to the educators' level of self-efficacy. Epstein and Dauber (1991) report on studies showing a relationship between teachers' positive self-perceptions and positive involvement toward others. In addition, the higher the fi-equency of contacts with parents, the more helpfiil teachers perceived parents to be regardless of their social or educational status. The opposite parental impressions were foimd in teachers who avoided parental contacts. In child treatment, the Dunst and Trivette (1987) competence model has been influential. Originally developed to empower families, but applicable to school and teacher, the goals of this treatment model directs professionals to (a) respond to family needs, (b) utilize intra-familial strengths, (c) identify extra-familial resources, and (d) practice "help giving behaviors" that enhance competence. Because the two treatments used in the present study apply empowering models, it will be relevant to explore the effects of these different "help-giving" methods.

PAGE 53

43 Furthermore, the contributions of Dunst and his colleagues (1987,1988, 1 99 1 , 1996) challenge the myth that all "help-giving" is always beneficial. Instead of focusing on the clients' presenting problems, they focus their attention on the clinicians" approach and style. They contend that, regardless of the clinician's good intentions, "help-giving" may have negative effects on the client. They recommend help-givers adopt a competence-based approach in order to avoid client dependency, helplessness, indebtedness, lack of self-efiBcacy, and poor self-esteem (Dunst & Trivette, 1987). Dunst and Trivette's ideas are supported by the current movement to demystify clinical methods. The trend is not to "do" therapy on clients, but to treat clients by "collaboration" (Anderson, 1983; Berg & Miller, 1992) or in "partnership" (Christenson, 1995a; Dunst & Trivette, 1987; Fine & Gardner, 1994; Paget, 1992). Collaboration implies a style of communication characterized by a "personable" approach that reduces the distance between client and professional. The non-threatening, natural "conversation" that unfolds in the session becomes the clinical intervention (Berg, 1994; Fine & Gardner, 1994). Similarly, education initiatives follow a path parallel to clinical practice by moving toward a greater integration of the community in decision-making and by acknowledging parental expertise. Empowering practices in the school imply the sharing of responsibility among all systems involved, the child, the family, the classroom, the faculty, and the school system (Cochran & Dean, 1991; McWhirter, 1991). School reform, legal mandates, and educational directives all push for the participation of parents as coeducators (Epstein, 1988). This approach advocates that school professionals communicate a sense of "we-ness" with parents (Lawler, 1991).

PAGE 54

44 In the schools, most scholars promote a collaborative approach based on parity (Brown et al., 1987; Elksnin & Elksnin, 1989; Idol et al., 1994; Silverstein et al., 1992). They also share with clinical practitioners the belief in approaching parents as "experts." From this perspective, parents know their children best and can tully participate in decisions about their children (Cochran & Dean, 1991; Delgado-Gaitan, 1991; Dunst et al., 1992; McGrew & Oilman, 1991). In summary, the two treatment approaches selected in this study share similarities: (a) a perception of individuals as resourceful and able to decide for themselves, (b) a belief in strengths instead of psychopathological processes, (c) a focus on behaviors and attainable goals instead of trait deficits and unconscious processes, and (d) a commitment to expand clients' competence. (Appendix A contains a comparison of the two treatment methods used in this study.) These models differ, however, in their clinical methods. A more detailed comparison of these models is presented in the following section. Problem-solving model Problem-solving is a common term used to explain an interpersonal or soUtary process in which the solution to a problem is explored. The scholarly popularity of problem-solving models (D'Zurilla, 1986; Javanthi & Friend, 1992; McClam & Woodside, 1994; Watzlawick et al, 1974) may relate to the common experience of problem-solving in daily life. The richness of the model relies on the vast accimiulation of empirical findings fi-om experimental, behavioral, cognitive, social, clinical, and educational psychology fields. In the late 1960s the problem-solving treatment model emerged as a clinical approach with an emphasis on social competence (D'Zurilla, 1986). Since then, this

PAGE 55

-5 treatment model has transcended its original therapeutic purpose and it has become one of the most versatile clinical methods, used by a variety of professional fields requiring decision-making activities. The simplicity and versatility of the approach has generated numerous applications to different problems, populations, and systems (D'Zurilla, 1986). In clinical practice, the problem-solving model has been used successfuUy with children (Hughes, 1987), parents (Kazdin, Siegel, & Bass, 1992; Shank & Tumball, 1993), couples (Jacobson, 1984), and families (Robin & Foster, 1989). In child treatment particularly, the problem-solving model has had significant impact. An increasing body of empirical literature shows treatment effects are maximized when behavioral management includes training parents in cognitive problem-solving methods (Kazdin et al., 1992; Rotto & Kratochwill, 1994; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990). In schools, this method is popular among teachers who often utilized problemsolving curricula (Shure, 1993). In particular, the model is used to intervene with discipline referrals (Bear, 1990; Wielkiewicz, 1992), students with severe disabilities (Giangreco, 1993), school decision-making meetings (Huebner & Hahn, 1990), parental interventions (Sheridan, 1993; Sheridan et al., 1990), and school consultations (Witt & Martens, 1988; Zins & Ponti, 1990). Of relevance to this study is the empirical support attesting to the model's effectiveness in increasing coping skills, self-eflBcacy, and empowerment (McClam & Woodside, 1994; Webster-Stratton, 1993; Witt & Martens, 1988; Zins, 1993). In addition, the interpersonal demands of problem-solving reinforce interpersonal relations (Meacham & Emont, 1989) and increase collaboration (Zins & Ponti, 1990).

PAGE 56

46 The problem-solving model for this study is an interpersonal, sequential, five-step process led by a clinician to help a mother and teacher resolve a mutually agreed upon concern. The five steps of the problem-solving model applied to this study include: problem identification, generation of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, selection of the best alternative, and evaluation of its effectiveness. The last step requires a follow-up meeting and will not be included in this study. Of these steps, the identification of the problem has received the most theoretical and empirical attention. It is considered to be the best predictor of positive outcome, as well as the most difficult stage to accomplish (Bergan, 1995; D'Zurilla, 1986; Janvanthi & Friend, 1992; Witt & Elliott, 1983). Depending on the model, this first step is made of few to many sub-steps. For example, Bergan' s nine-stage model relies heavily on a behavioral approach to problem identification. Consequently, extensive data are gathered during the nine sub-steps of problem definition as it focuses only on the antecedents and consequences of problematic behavior. Due to the time pressures of school professionals, Bergan (1995) recommends focusing on the chief complaint rather than on the assessment of positive behaviors. In contrast, other problem-solving models incorporate the assessment of positive, coping behaviors in this first stage (Wielkiewicz, 1992; Witt & Martens, 1988). The cognitive model of D'Zurilla (1986) includes attention to stress factors during the first stage of problem identification. Borrowing the transactional stress of Lazarus (in D'Zurilla, 1986), he addresses the impact environmental factors have upon the individual. It is speculated that the management demands placed by behavioraUy disordered children generate stress in parents and teachers. Attention to this assumption is

PAGE 57

47 important because affective reactions interfere with problem-solving processes (Kramer, 1989). The second step in implementing the problem-solving model involves the generation of multiple alternatives, also known as brainstorming. This stage has roots in E.P.Torrance's paradigm of creativity (in McClam & Woodside, 1994). Under this model, three areas constitute a creative endeavor: (a) fluency or quantity of ideas generated, (b) flexibility or wide range of ideas, and (c) originality or the production of unusual ideas. Torrence hypothesized that creativity heavily depends on fluency. The larger the quantity of ideas produced, the higher the probability of achieving flexibility and originality. Two strategies facilitate this stage: writing the alternatives and deferring judgment (Jayanthi & Friend, 1992; Robin & Foster, 1989). By writing down all the alternatives, participants can either expand, combine, or specify ideas by association. The third and fourth stages represent the evaluation of the alternatives generated and the selection of the best alternative' respectively. Several strategies have been developed to facilitate the decision-making aspect of the problem-solving process, such as choosing the alternative easiest to implement ( Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) or the one most valuable to the individual (McClam & Woodside, 1994). In conclusion, the problem-solving approach is a viable method to employ in home-school meetings because it is strongly supported by empirical findings and it enhances interpersonal relations. The model has been applied successfully to parents and teachers with children with behavioral problems.

PAGE 58

48 Solution-focused model In contrast to the problem-solving model, the solution-focused approach is a relatively new therapeutic approach with limited experimental support. The richness of the solution-focused movement lies in sound theoretical postulates developed by talented clinicians from the Brief Family Therapy Center (BFTC) in Milwaukee under the direction of de Shazer, Berg, Lipchick, and others. Most of the available literature addresses the model's constructs, applications, and techniques. Several case studies and reports on qualitative research show favorable results (De Jong & Hopwood, 1996; McKeel, 1996). The following review is presented based on solution-focused postulates and supportive research relevant to this study. The interest in the solutionfocused approach is expanding beyond brief therapy outpatient clinics. De Jong and Miller (1995) praise the collaborative style of solutionfocused theory as the main reason for its high applicability to all forms of interpersonal problem-solving tasks. Solution-focused techniques have been successfully applied to patients in psychiatric hospitals (Vaughn, Webster, Orahood, & Young, 1995; Webster, Vaughn, & Martinez, 1994; Webster, Vaughn, Webb, & Playter, 1995), rehabilitation programs (Chandler &. Mason, 1995), clinical supervision (Thomas, 1996), social services family supervision (Berg, 1994), school consultation (Carlson et al, 1992), and school coimseling (Bonnington, 1993; Do wing & Harrison, 1992; Murphy, 1996; Murphy & Duncan, in press). Unfortunately, solution-focused theory has been misjudged as superficial and simplistic, contributing only to the field with therapeutic techniques (Miller, personal communication, September 28, 1996). However, analysis of this clinical approach reveals i

PAGE 59

49 that solution-focused treatment is complex and represents a powerful treatment modality. In particular, this approach challenges the traditional clinical training of mental health professionals. A paradigm shift from psychopathology to empowerment may not be an easy task for many professionals in the field. The clinician may need a high level of concentration not to slip back to the traditional, "you need to fix the pathology" approach. For this reason, the therapists' positive perspective and the belief in the resourcefiihiess of their clients drive ail therapeutic interventions. This "mental health" approach allows clients to reach goals and change positively (Berg & Miller, 1992). Support for this approach is evident from findings on pre-treatment changes. WeinerDavis, de Shazer, and Gingerich (1987) found that a significant number of clients experienced positive changes between the first telephone call made for an appointment and the first session. Similar findings are reported by McKeel (1996), who conducted an unpublished study with Weiner-Davis. In addition, psychotherapy research also supports pre-treatment change as individuals on waiting lists, often used as controls, have reported some level of spontaneous remission without therapy (Lambert &. Bergin, 1994). When clients come to therapy, they are saturated with problems and they generalize the occurrence of these problems as the "rule" (de Shazer, 1985). The therapist digs for exceptions to the "rule" and constructs a new positive reality through a sophisticated interviewing process (Lipchick, 1988). According to Molnar and de Shazer (1987), the focus then turns from problems to be solved to solutions to be identified (p. 349). The attempt to accomplish this paradigm shift is by identifying past successes (i.e., resources, talents) and exceptions to the problem (i.e., what is happening when the

PAGE 60

50 problem does not occur), and developing small attainable goals. As de Shazer and his colleagues stated, successful therapy only needs to focus on "how will we know when the problem is solved?" and not on dissecting the problem (1986, p. 10). The solution-focused approach has been compared to problem-solving approaches. Friedman and Fanger (1991) state that the solution-focused approach generates expectations of possibilities and hope, while problem-solving emphasizes what is wrong and how to move the client away from the experience of anxiety. Moreover, de Shazer believes solutions may not be directly related to the presenting problems and that complex problems do not need complex solutions. He advocates instead the discovery of "skeleton keys" or previously successfiil solution patterns or small solutions that may have applicability to the presenting concern (de Shazer, 1988, p. 51). The relevance of solution-focused treatment to this study is based on several characteristics: (1) client-centered approach, (2) basic treatment assumptions, (3) "solution-talk," and (4) collaborative client-coimselor relationship. A detailed discussion follows: 1 . Client-Centered Approach. The model's structure relies on a client-determined, culturally-sensitive approach where the therapy evolves within the client's frame of reference (Berg & Miller, 1992). By concentrating on the client's "ear" and not the clinician's (i.e., diagnostic mode), adaptation to the client's frame of reference becomes a reality (Murphy & Duncan, in press). There is a strong focus enjoining with the client by mirroring the client's sensorial mode and language (Berg, 1994; O'Hanlon & WeinerDavis, 1989). Sophisticated counseling skills, therefore, are necessary to listen to, accept, redirect, and motivate the client (Murphy & Duncan, in press). Scott Miller (personal

PAGE 61

51 communication, September, 27, 1996) recommends the use of the LAVGC approach: listen, acknowledge, validate, goaling, and confirming. 2. Basic Treatment Assumptions. The model is based on assumptions that reinforce simplicity. Some basic assumptions are: (a) "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," (b) if it works, do more of it," and (c) "if it doesn't work, do something different" (Berg & Miller, 1992, p. 17). In addition, a major task in therapy is to develop the smallest observable goal. Solution-focused therapists also take the client's presenting problem at face value and do not attempt to confabulate the chief complaint with complex hypothetical interpretations. Solution-focused methods resemble the approach taken in the medical and educational fields of the "least invasive procedure" or "least restrictive placement" respectively. 3. Solution-Talk. The model relies heavily on the art of therapeutic language. The solution-led interview is designed as a distinctive form of therapeutic intervention. Leaders of the movement (Berg, 1994; Berg & de Shazer, 1993; de Shazer, 1985, 1988; Lipchick, 1993; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989) underscore the carefiil selection of questions, intonations, orientations, and content of interactions. Solution-talk, also called "change-talk," happens when the verbal cues of the clinician lead the client to talk about changes and not about problems. This method of interaction was developed as the result of the BFTC staflPs carefiil analysis of language practices in therapy sessions. They demonstrated the utility of such treatment techniques as a variety of questions (e.g., miracle, coping, exception, scaling questions), choice of inquiry terms (e.g., what, how, when), selection of terms (e.g., both/and), fiiture orientation, feedback style (e.g., "wow," "I'm impressed with..."), and what to avoid (e.g.,

PAGE 62

52 words such as "why," "if," and questions about causes, past history, pathology). Another contribution was the pre-suppositional language developed by O'Hanlon and WeinerDavis (1989), which sets the client to thinking about the future without the problem. Stated dififerently, when clients talk about change and the future, the expectation of change spurs motivation. Solution-talk is confirmed by the findings of several studies. Gingerich, de Shazer, and Weiner-Davis (1988), foimd that interactions of therapists using "change-talk" triggered change and solution-talk in the client. Shields, Sprenkle and Constantine (1991) demonstrated that "solution-talk" in the first session led to a lower attrition rate of clients. Beyebach, Rodrigues-Morejon, Palenzuela and RodriguesArias (1996) in Salamanca, Spain, provide the most experimentally controlled support for the solution-focused language style. They utilize complex coded communication systems used to analyzed the therapeutic dialogue of entire sessions and they base their psychotherapy research on the "relational communication approach" of the Mental Research Institute model: "people do not relate and talk, but rather relate in talk, in other words, their exchange of messages is their relationship" (p. 301). The Salamanca group foimd a positive correlation between the use of domination (i.e., controlling interactions: arguments, debates, question-answer dialogues etc.), and submissiveness (i.e., passive interactions) in the first session of brief therapy and premature termination. In contrast, neutralizing interactions (i.e., neutral remarks such as "I see," "yeah," "I understand") were associated with completion of treatment. The latter is best characterized by counseling communication skills advocated by solution-focused therapists such as active listening, paraphrasing, summarizing, and "listening to the

PAGE 63

53 process." Furthermore, Beyebach's group believes that this type of neutralizing exchange determines what has been called the influential "nonspecific" factors of treatment process. 4. Collaboration. Because the client has the power to change, techniques take second place to the alliance the counselor develops with the client. The solution-focused approach places strong emphasis on building a collaborative relationship with the client by not assiuning an expert role (Berg & Miller, 1992; Kiser, Piercy, &. Lipchick, 1993). The therapist seeks opportunities for "change" in the client's narratives (Berg &. Miller 1992; Murphy & Duncan, in press;). A key to creating a safe, collaborative climate for change is the emphasis given to the clinician's practice of acceptance. This approach leads to what Erickson called the "yes set" of the client (de Shazer, 1982). The client's receptive position allows the therapist to either compliment the cUent (Kiser et al., 1993) or successfully refi^ame negative observations. Related to collaboration is the model's well developed framework to increase client cooperation. Because solution-focusing not a deficit oriented approach, client's non-compliance is not labeled as resistance (de Shazer, 1984). Instead, the model provides a framework where therapeutic adjustments can be made by the temporary classification of clients as either consumers, complainers, or visitors. Each of these categories has a treatment strategy to increase cooperation. The researcher's review of the solution-focused literature supports the analysis made by Murphy and Duncan (in press). They strongly support the model because solution-focused treatment contains the four major factors identified in the psychotherapy research literature as the best predictors of successfixl treatment: forty percent to client

PAGE 64

54 factors, thirty percent to relationship factors, fifteen percent to treatment model factors, and fifteen percent to expectation of change or hope factors. That is, solution-focused treatment is a viable treatment approach because its client-centered approach focuses on client's strengths, practices a collaborative client-professional relationship, contains a wealth of therapeutic techniques, and expands the client's hope with fiiture perspectives. In conclusion, the solution-focused treatment provides a usefixl method to counteract the body of literature attesting to the negative feelings between families and schools. The model responds to time-limited interventions and allows for a fi"esh positive start to home-school commimication. Because the solution-focused structured interview format does not have the well delineated "steps" or sequence of the problem-solving model, the interview adapted the recommended "solution-talk" interviewing methods to a home-school meeting (Berg, 1994; De Jong & Miller, 1995; Molnar & de Shazer, 1987). That is, the solution-focused home-school interview identified: (a) what works, (b) strengths at home and school, (c) exceptions to the rule, (d) complaints refi-amed as strengths, and (e) a small, meaningfial goal developed by mother and teacher. Comparative Studies A literature search fi-om PsycLit, ERIC, and Dissertation Abstracts generated five comparative studies of problem-focused and solution-focused approaches. The first three were published in professional journals and the last two studies were dissertation investigations. An analysis of these studies will be presented in this section.

PAGE 65

55 1 . Adams, Piercy, and Jurich (1991) This study was based on the dissertation research of the first author in 1989. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the solution-focused technique, the "formula first session task" or FFST (i.e., what is working well and what do you want to see continue happening), and a problem-focused task (i.e., a specific and comprehensive assessment of all con^onents of the presenting problem). Two conditions followed in the second session: a solution-focused or a problem-focused approach. A third group (i.e., control group) performed a problem-focused task foUowed by problem-focused treatment. The results of the study showed differences in short-term and long-term outcome effects. Groups using the FFST demonstrated by the second session (i.e., short-term) significant improvements in presenting problem and goal clarity as well as in a higher level of compliance. In contrast, by the tenth session (i.e., long-term) there were no differences between the three groups in presenting problem and outcome optimism. The authors concluded that predicting outcome based on using one single technique (i.e., FFST) may not be a realistic expectation. 2. Jordan and Quinn (1994) The second study investigated the effects of two family therapy sessions using two well delineated approaches, solution-focused and problem-focused. This latter approach followed the problem-oriented focus of the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto (i.e., comprehensive assessment of the problem using circular questions). They also used the FFST at the end of the first session, regardless of the treatment condition. They did not use a control group. Randomization of subjects (N=57) was applied, but group assignment ranged fi-om twenty five to fifteen participants. The researchers collected data

PAGE 66

56 from well-established instruments used in psychotherapy processes and outcome research: session impact, the therapeutic alliance, and outcome expectancy. Results showed significant dififerences. The solution-focused group had more session depth, smoothness, and positivity, as well as more perceived improvement and positive outcome expectancy. However, the authors explained that while solution-focused methods may produce more gains in the early stages of therapy, the problem-solving approach may still be beneficial at a later stage of treatment. They suggested that the dependent measures may have been more sensitive in detecting changes with the solution-focused approach. 3. Littrell,Malia, and Vanderwood( 1995) The third study compared solutionand problem-focused first session counseling with a randomized selection of high school students (N=61). Independent variables were based on three variations of the same treatment approach and two brief follow-up sessions at two and six weeks twenty and five minutes, respectively. Treatment was based on the Mental Institute Research four step problem-solving model (Watzlawick et al., 1974): (a) definition of the problem, (b) identification of past successfiil solutions, (c) development of a specific goal, and (d) assignment, or first-session task. The solution group received the last two steps only while the problem-focused group received all four steps. A modified control group received only the first three steps, making it the only group without a first-session task. Quantitative findings showed no significant differences among the three groups, while qualitative data produced a wealth of clinical information. Although relevant as a global measure of counseling progress, the dependent measures were restrictive (three questions only) and psychometrically weak to reliably evaluate treatment changes. However, the authors recommended solution-focused methods for

PAGE 67

57 busy counselors with limited time available, as the approach required less counselor time than the other two approaches. The naturalistic design of this study sacrificed internal validity to external validity. In addition, the distinction between solutionand problem-oriented independent variables was not clearly differentiated. Theoretically, solution-focused constructs are an extension of the strategic thinking of the problem-solving approach of Watzlawick and his colleagues (1974). All three groups shared one step, goal setting. Without a control group, it is difiBcuh to confirm if this third step had any influence on the results. 4. Sundstrom(1994) The fourth study is a dissertation investigation in which the effects of the solutionfocused and problem-focused approaches on depressed female college students (N=40) were investigated. Subjects were only seen for a single therapy session. The problemfocused approach concentrated on the specific assessment of depressive symptoms, addressing causes of depression and concerns, and identifying negative coping behaviors. In contrast, the solution-focused approach minimized the presenting problems and maximized past successful experiences and the future visualization of life without the problems. Preand post-session measures were obtained using several depression inventories, a self-esteem scale, and a post-test counselor rating instrument. While were no differences between the two groups in measures of self-esteem, outcome, or perceptions of the counselors, the solutionfocused group showed improvements in depressive symptoms. The author concluded that the solution-focused approach was associated with positive changes in mood but that neither approach showed superiority in the effectiveness of one single session of therapy.

PAGE 68

58 5. Landis(1992) The last study was a dissertation investigation in which the effects of solutionfocused and behavioral-oriented formats were used in school consultations with teachers. The behaviorally oriented group followed Bergan's consultation interview. Although identified as behavioral, Bergan's approach follows problem-solving steps similar to those in the current study. Teachers (N=32) completed pre-and post-intervention measures in the folio vmg areas: attribution of causality regarding the student's behavioral problems, reports of student's behavioral problems, and teacher self-eflBcacy. A post-test treatment acceptability measure was used as well. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for language of consultee's responses to consultant's questions. There were no differences between the two groups in teachers' self-eflBcacy, attributional changes, perceptions of the student's problem, and treatment acceptability. However, the author reported that teachers in the solution-focused groups tended to respond in "change" language to solution-oriented questions. In sum, these five comparative studies show mixed results. In contrast to the solution-focused approaches, the definition of the problem-solving treatment varied considerably among the studies. Several populations were represented, families, couples, adults, adolescents, and teachers. None included the mother-teacher dyad. Only one of the five studies had a homogeneous presenting problem, depression, and some dependent measures that they used were psychometrically weak. The design of the current investigation contrasts with the above analyzed studies in several areas: (a) the presenting problem addressed, students with behavioral problems, was homogeneous across all three groups, (b) the problem-solving treatment condition

PAGE 69

59 was well-defined as a distinctive cognitive-behavioral intervention, and (c) the use of a separate control group without a defined treatment approach was included. In addition, participants fi-om two separate systems with different levels of emotional investment regarding the presenting problem were involved in the study and their results were examined individually and as dyads. Support for the Need for the Study Examination of the comprehensive literature review presented in this chapter disclosed several factors that further support the need for the study. A discussion follows on: (1) the home-school interface, (2) population characteristics, (3) mental health services in the schools, (4) psychotherapy treatment models, and (5) research status. Home-School Interface Conclusions drawn from the literature review confirm the importance of the homeschool relationship and help to identify barriers to home-school communication. Because the needs of children cannot be met solely by either families or schools (Christenson & Cleary, 1990), scholars urgently call for methods to improve the communication between these groups (Christenson et al., 1992; Epstein, 1988, 1992; Sutherland, 1991). Despite this, little is known about beneficial parent-teacher, adult-to-adult, models of communication (Power & Bartolomew, 1987a; Vickers «fe Minke, 1995). Therefore, there is a need to develop, investigate, and solidify approaches that enhance parent-teacher interactions regarding children with behavioral problems.

PAGE 70

60 One method to increase home-school partnerships is the face-to-face contact between parent and teacher (Epstein, 1988, 1992). These meetings are endorsed by many because they are viewed as the most powerful public-relations technique schools can employ (Lawler, 1991; Lotz & Suhorsky, 1989), as influential experiences in the early school grades (Greenwood & Hickman, 1991), as the best communications method (Cooper, 1977), as the parents' preferred choice of communication (Arnold et al., 1994; Harry, 1992; McCamey, 1986), and as the most fruitful method to positively impact students' learning and weU-being (Christenson et al., 1992; Rotter et al., 1987; Seabaugh & Schumaker, 1981). However, home-school collaborative meetings suffer from the complexities inherent in school-based intervention research (Christenson, 1995a; Werthamer-Larsson, 1994), the long-lived attitudinal problem between parents and teachers, and the lack of experimentally controlled studies (Christenson et al., 1992; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992). Population Characteristics Collaboration between parents and teachers of behaviorally disordered children continues to present challenges to school professionals, especially teachers (Smallwood, Hawryluk, & Pierson, 1990). These children require muhiple setting interventions as well as the coordination of many professional services (Evans et al., 1993; Lucyshyn & Albin, 1993). Teachers need parental support to maximize their students' learning (Christenson, 1997; Sutherland, 1991) but the demands placed by these children on parents and teachers exacerbate the tension reported in the home-school relationship.

PAGE 71

61 Investigation of mothers of behaviorally disordered children is needed because their role is pivotal to child development. Mothers also assume the primary communication's role between the family and the school. It has been shown that what mothers and other family members do with children at home (i.e., process variables) predicts sixty percent of school achievement variance (Christenson, 1995b, 1997). Moreover, clinical depression is often foimd among mothers of children with behavioral problems (Barkley, 1990; Hock, Schirtzinger, & Lutz, 1992; La Roche, Turner, & Kalick, 1995; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990). The reported lack of social support for these mothers is associated with poor parenting eflBcacy (Billings & Moss, 1985; Cutrona & Troutman, 1986), with levels of perceived depression (La Roche et al., 1995), and with short-lived treatment effects (Dumas & Whaler, 1983). By establishing a solid, supportive bridge between mothers and teachers, positive home-school experiences could reduce parental disengagement. Mothers with special-needs children, therefore, need the supportive relationship of professionals (Krehbiel & Kroth, 1991; Lucynshyn & Albin, 1993; Noh, Dumas, Wolf, & Fisman, 1989;) who are sensitive to their needs (Johnston & Zemitzch, 1988; Modrcin & Robinson, 1991). According to Seligman and Darling (1989), parents and their specialneeds children constitute a unique population, as the school becomes the primary source for guidance, intervention, and support. They contend that if these families do not communicate with school professionals to access resources and receive support, their children's needs will not be met. Moreover, the treatment of behaviorally disordered children requires multiple interventions, a high level of involvement from significant adults, and expertise in behavioral management and problem-solving skills (Barkley, 1990;

PAGE 72

62 Ramsey & Hill, 1988; Selekman, 1993; SmaUwood et al., 1990; Young, 1990; WebsterStratton & Hammond, 1990). From this perspective, building a positive relationship between mothers and teachers of the children in this special population may increase parental competence as well as maintain supportive networking. If these mothers are to respond to the exceptional parenting demands placed on them by their children, then long-term models of collaboration with school professionals is necessary. Furthermore, behaviorally disordered children typically manifest misbehavior in multiple settings (Simpson, 1988), so the working relationship between parents and professionals becomes a critical medium for intervention. Mental Health Services in the Schools Currently, the role of child mental health professionals is expanding (Adelman & Taylor, 1993). The ability of these professionals to work with difficult clients, their extensive training in child treatment, and their skills with families in crisis are essential if they are to meet the overwhelming demand for child mental health services (Mondcrin & Robinson, 1991). In addition, there is a growing interest in the development of new paradigms in child-oriented mental health delivery services in the schools (Carlson et al., 1995; Tharinger, 1995; Werthamer-Larsson, 1994). One possible contribution to a new paradigm of service delivery might be to recast the role of mental health professionals as facilitators of successful home-school meetings with populations at risk, but little information is available on this particular composition of conference participants.

PAGE 73

63 (Appendix B provides a comparison between parent-teacher conferences and mental health approaches.) Psychotherapy Treatment Models Psychotherapy theory and research support the eflfectiveness of brief empowering therapy methods as powerful tools to establish therapeutic alliances and increase selfefiBcacy (Budman, Hoyt & Friedman 1992). These treatment models show positive outcomes with families previously described as difficult to reach (Dunst, Trivette, Gordon, & Stames, 1993; Kalanyapur & Rao, 1991; Segal Silverman, & Temkin, 1995). Furthermore, the selection of mothers as participants makes them by default representatives of a population whose characteristics (e.g., gender, low economic status, race) are linked to "powerless" groups in need of competence building (McWhirter, 1991). In addition, the application of empowering clinical methods to school-parent communication has only recently been considered (Carlson et al., 1992). Because these methods enhance the receptivity and motivation of the client (Berg, 1994; Duncan & Murphy, in press; O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis, 1989; Murphy, 1996), they may have valuable application to other forms of interpersonal interventions in diverse settings. Research Status Because home-school collaboration is a process, not a service or activity (Christenson, 1995b), and is set within the complex world of school-based mental heahh intervention (Werthamer-Larsson, 1994), it is a very difficult intervention to investigate. This may explain the preponderance of attitudinal survey studies in which opinions are

PAGE 74

64 explored in a rather passive and static manner. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the effectiveness of different "actions" that may counteract obstructions to collaboration and may contribute to new methods of service integration (Adehnan, 1993; Apter, 1992; Harvey, 1995). The action-focused design of this present study explored the changes after an intervention in attitudes and perceptions. In summary, there is a strong need to conduct this investigation because: (a) homeschool collaboration is a relevant problem, (b) the population selected warrants research and treatment attention, (c) experimentally controlled home-school meeting studies are rare, (d) brief therapy advances warrant being applied to other forms of therapeutic interpersonal processes, (e) discriminating among the professionals' "helping behaviors" using differing empowering approaches may prove useful in clinical practice, and (f) the expanding role of mental heahh professionals needs to be explored empiricaUy. Su pport for the Approach of the Study The approach of this study responds to the division reported between researchers and practitioners (Kazdin, 1993). This study can be classified as an applied study that incorporates theoretical constructs with an experimental design. This type of confirmatory methodology is recommended for research on treatment effects because it emphasizes internal validity (Howard, Orlinsky, & Lueger 1995). In addition, this investigation utilizes well established research methods fi"om attitudinal surveys, communication studies, and psychotherapy research. The rationale is based on the following issues. First, collecting data on attitudes and subjective reactions of participants in a home-school meeting is important because those attitudes are the

PAGE 75

65 cornerstone of relationship building, collaboration, and usability (Christenson et al., 1992; Reimers et al., 1987). Secondly, parent and teacher will be studied as a dyad, a method recommended by communication research (Erchul, et al., 1992). Lastly, advances in psychotherapy research in process and outcome, especially those related to brief therapy methods, influence the clinical methods selected for the study. A more detailed explanation follows. Attitudinal Research Attitudes, also referred to as perceptions or cognitions, motivate individuals to engage, participate, and adhere to psychological interventions (Erchul et al., 1992; Meichenbaum & Turk, 1987). As reviewed earlier in this chapter, negative perceptions toward the school hinder collaborative efforts. Consequently, school researchers agree on the need to investigate attitudes that impact on the home-school relationship (Arnold et al., 1994; Christenson & Conoley, 1992; Christenson & Cleary, 1990; Fine & Carlson, 1992; Greenwood & Hickman, 1991). Similarly, psychotherapy researchers recommend collecting data on clients' perceptions of the treatment experience because clients have "privileged access" to iirformation that cannot not be provided by observers (Elliott & James, 1989, p. 445). Most educational research on parent and teacher attitudes has focused on survey studies characterized by the use of monodic variable data, or data collected on separate individuals or characteristics of individuals. An example is the well-developed, comprehensive survey on attitudes toward family-school communication with parents of special education students done by Arnold and his associates (1994). According to Millar

PAGE 76

66 and associates, (in Erchul et al., 1992) in communication research, monodic variables are viewed as lacking in predictive validity and information. Dyadic Research Dyadic data will be collected in the present study using perception and attitudinal measures. Long advocated by those with an interpersonal view of human interaction (Laing, Phillipson, & Lee, 1966) and supported by the increasing interest in interpersonal and systemic research (Erchul & Chewing, 1990; Erchul et al., 1992; Greenberg & Pinsof; 1986), the use of dyadic variables is increasing. The rationale supporting dyadic methodology is based on pragmatic, conceptual, and research issues. Instead of using complex interpersonal coding systems, some researchers (Erchul et al., 1992) recommend collecting data on perceptions that lead to levels of agreement and understanding. Conceptually, the interpersonal view of Laing and his colleagues (1966) offers a model for the study of home-school interactions. Interpersonal exchanges follow a "spiral of reciprocal perspectives" based on three constructs: (1) "direct perspectives" (e.g., the opinions parents and teachers have about a specific issue), (2) "meta-perspective," (e.g., the perception a parent has about what the teacher's position is on an issue), and (3) "meta-metaperspective," (e.g., the perception a parent has about what the teacher thinks the parent's opinion is on an issue). According to Erchul and Chewing (1990), an "agreement" is reached when individuals have the same direct perspectives, while "understanding" becomes the "metaperspective" of individual A regarding the direct perspective of individual B. In particular, they underscore the importance of agreement in teamwork and they advocate

PAGE 77

67 Pryzwansky's "congruence" construct (in Erchul & Chewing, 1990) as a decisive component of effective consultation. Because the purpose of home-school meetings is to increase collaboration and teamwork between parent and teacher, studying the direct perspectives of participants is a valuable tool to assess a dyad's degree of agreement. This method of research is relevant when studying social relationships (Orlinsky & Howard, 1986) because the perception of participants is considered more important than data obtained through observers (Elliott & James, 1989). They also report that the level of involvement of participants is associated with agreement. That is, if home-school meetings are structured to increase the level of participation of parents and teachers, then the level of agreement and collaboration will be higher. There are, however, no established tools to measure the home-school meeting's level of agreement, so this researcher will utilize the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) developed for this study. The items on this post-test measure represent factors identified in the professional literature that impact on home-school collaboration. Psychotherapy Research In this study the home-school meeting facilitated by a MHP is conceptualized as a brief therapeutic encounter. The role of the MHP is to enhance collaboration between the participants in order to develop mutually agreed interventions or "treatment plans." Home-school meetings require the MHPs' communication and relationship skills as the meeting's structure parallels other forms of direct and indirect service delivery activities. Given the similarities between the home-school meeting and single session therapy, brief

PAGE 78

68 therapy research and clinical methods apply (Appendix B provides a comparison between counseling methods and home-school communication formats.). With over 500 psychotherapy studies documented in the literature (Howard et al., 1995), the efifectiveness of psychotherapy and counseling is a well documented fact (Howard et al., 1995; Lambert & Bergin, 1994). Inevitably, the years and efforts dedicated to psychotherapy research have produced improvements in methodology. This study takes advantage of the polished research methods advocated by leaders in this scientific arena (Elliott, 1995; Greenberg, 1986; Greenberg & Pinsof, 1986) by investigating process and outcome variables (Elliott, 1995) as weU as applied methods of consumerism (Johnston & Mash, 1989; Reimers et al., 1987; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992). Most scientists and clinicians agree that a successful therapeutic experience requires not quantity but quality. Investigators support the single session as a natural vmit of research because process and outcome variables can be thoroughly examined with a "smaller is better" approach (Greenberg, 1986; Greenberg &. Pinsof, 1986; Orlinsky &. Howard, 1986; Stiles, 1989). Similarly, single session therapy proponents validate the clinical gains made fi-om a single session of therapy (Budman et al, 1992; Hoyt, Friedman, & Budman, 1992; Rosenbaum, 1990). Thus, the cliche that "more is better," (Hoyt, 1990, p. 117) is replaced with a "better is better" clinical approach (Rosenbaum, 1990, p. 168). Lastly, the structured interview format of the home-school meeting increases experimental control and the clinical effectiveness of the intervention. First, structured interviews increase the reliability of the generated content (Hay, Hay, Angle, & Nelson, 1979). That is, clients respond to the questions or verbal cues used by the therapist. In

PAGE 79

69 addition, psychotherapy research indicates that treatment with a focus predicts positive outcome (Budman & Gurman, 1988). The sequence of each home-school meeting interview condition investigated in this study is designed to keep the facilitator with a focus on the particular treatment model. Support for the Measures of the Study Elliott (1995) recommends the use of psychometrically sound instruments to assess treatment outcome and process. He claims that instruments developed specifically for a particular study lack technical strength and applicability. The three dependent measures selected follow the recommended instruments by scholars in the areas of perception of competence, rating of child behaviors, and session impact. In addition, the selected measures comply with what Aveline (1995) considers the "best buy" for a standard package in counseling research: a measure of self-esteem (i.e., Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire), a measure of symptoms (i.e., Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory, SutterEyberg Student Behavior Inventory), and a measure of the quality of the interpersonal relationship (i.e., Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey). Session Evaluation Questionnaire The usefuhiess of the Session Evaluation Questionnaire (SEQ) Form 4 in the current study is based on the similarities between the interpersonal processes of a parentteacher conference and a counseling session. Because the SEQ immediately captures critical treatment effects (Hill, Hehns, Tichenor, Spiegel, O'Grady, & Perry, 1988;

PAGE 80

70 Horvath & Marx, 1990), it is considered a "mediator" between treatment process and treatment outcome. Several factors reinforce the selection of the SEQ as a dependent measure in this study: (a) its utility in measuring client's reaction to brief therapy methods (Jordan & Quinn, 1994; Mallinckrodt, 1993; Stiles, Shapiro & Firth-Cozens, 1988; Tryon, 1990), (b) its proven value in comparing the session impact of different treatment models (Jordan & Quinn, 1994; Stiles, et al., 1988) and facilitative interactions (Stiles, 1980; Stiles & Snov^r, 1984; Stiles, Tupler & Carpenter, 1982), (c) its acclamation by well-respected researchers in treatment process and outcome studies (Cummings, Slemon, & Hallberg, 1993; Horvath & Marx, 1990), (d) its simplicity and ease of administration, (e) its adequate psychometric composition (Stiles, 1980, 1989; Stiles & Snow, 1984), and (f) its neutral, generic format. The SEQ factors respond to descriptions in the professional literature regarding the negative reactions parents have toward teachers and school meetings (Carlson et al., 1992; Christensen & Cleary, 1990; Epstein, 1988; Vickers & Minke, 1995). Measuring factors such as the level of ease or "smoothness," the degree of positive reactions or "positivity," the value or "depth" of the session, and the level of "arousal" or involvement in the process may shed light on methods to improve home-school meetings. Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire In his classic article, Masterpasqua (1989) defines competence as a mental health construct based on self-evaluations regarding one's ability to cope with life events. He underscores the fact that competence is not dependant on the individual's history of

PAGE 81

71 acquired skills and expertise, but more on the individual's cognitive interpretations. These appraisals are key to the manner in which individuals respond to others. Under this premise, it is speculated that experiencing competence in a home-school meeting may impact on the working relationship between mother and teacher, as well as provide opportunities for empowerment (McWhirter, 1991). Due to the availability of parallel forms for parents and teachers, the PTAQ is highly recommended by researchers in school consultation as a useful instrument to gather information on parent's and teacher's perceptions of competence (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992). Given the often negative attitudes between parents and teachers, the PTAQ may generate usefiil information on attitudinal changes resulting from different treatments, as well as data regarding the perspectives mothers and teachers have toward each other (Power, 1985). Moreover, the three items from the PTAQ that measure competence beliefs correspond with the definitions of self-eflBcacy and competence in the research literature. Teachers who believe that they can help all students, including those difficult to handle, are recognized as having a high level of self-efiBcacy and competence (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Similarly, parenting competence reflects the parents' belief in their ability to respond to the needs of raising their children (Johnston and Marsh, 1991). These two beliefs are measured by the PTAQ. Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory was selected because it is a well established instrument designed to measure child acting-out behaviors. Adding to its simplicity and

PAGE 82

72 ease of completion, the ECBI has a complementary teacher form , the SESBI, that allows assessment of multiple settings. In her review of the literature, Eyberg (1992) provided experimental evidence of the ECBFs psychometric qualities as well as supported the applicability of the ECBI to the present study. The ECBI yielded consistent findings in the area of discriminating between samples of clinic-referred acting-out children and non-chnical samples (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983; Eyberg & Ross, 1978; Spaccarelli, Cotler, & Penman, 1992). It has shown strong utility as a treatment outcome measure with conduct disordered children (Eyberg, 1992; Eyberg & Boggs, 1989), as a screening tool for pediatric clinics (Eyberg, 1992), as a pretreatment assessment tool (Scott, 1989), as a measure of parental risk for abuse and level of conqjetency (Budd & Holdsworth, 1996), as a post-test measure sensitive enough to assess problem-solving treatment effects (Spaccarelli et al., 1992), and as a complementary tool to the clinical interview with parents (Eyberg & Boggs, 1989). In conclusion, the relevance of using the ECBI in the present study is based on its established psychometric properties, its sensitivity to measure degrees of problem intensity perception, its ease of administration, its stability with shortand long-term test-retest without compromising scores to statistical regression or to developmental changes (Eyberg, 1992), and its usefulness as a comprehensive, multiple-rater evaluation of child behavior (Budd & Holdsworth, 1996). Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory The Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory (SESBI) is an adequate dependent measure for this study because it has a solid psychometric foundation and it complements

PAGE 83

73 the ECBI in its format and structure (Eyberg, 1992). Although similar to the ECBI, the SESBI has not received as much attention in the measurement literature. The ECBI and SESBI respond to the two relevant constructs tested in this study: competence and perceptions of the problem. First, maternal self-efiScacy is associated with maternal perceptions of child behavioral problems (LaRoche et al., 1995). Second, changing the perception of the problem is central to the problem-solving and solutionfocused treatment models (i.e., cognitive restructuring, reframing). Third, the child-focus design of these instruments corresponds with the long-term purpose of effective homeschool meetings, which is to ensure the weU-being of the child. Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey Each item of the HSMSS corresponds to home-school attitudinal survey findings Jfrom parents and teachers (i.e., time, communication, fi^equency). Therefore, it is relevant to assess the satisfaction and agreement level of mothers and teachers after a home-school intervention. The purpose of collecting satisfaction data is based on the current focus on consumerism in health (Jonhston & Mash, 1989; McMahon & Forehand, 1983) and in educational services (Lowenbraun, Madge, & Affleck, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 1992; Witt & Elliott, 1983). Acceptability research shows that the likelihood a treatment is used depends on the consumer's level of treatment acceptability and satisfaction (Reimers et al. 1987). In addition, gathering information on the agreement level obtained in dyads provides usefiil insights into process variables impacting on teamwork and collaboration (Erchul et al, 1992).

PAGE 84

74 Summary Several conclusions are drawn from the body of literature reviewed in this chapter. EfiFective methods of collaboration between parents and school officials are needed for all children, but minimal information is available on aduh-to-aduk interactional models that enhance home-school partnerships. Although different types of meetings between parents and school officials are documented, little empirical knowledge is available on the utilization of mental health professionals as facilitators in home-school partnerships with populations at risk. Despite the many barriers to the home-school relationship, some changes show promise. A small number of studies indicate that changing practices and responding to preferences may lead to increasing the involvement of parents and teachers in the collaborative process. Some of these changes show similarities to advances in counseling methods, especially those linked to empowering models of brief therapy. Because these models reject pathology, they may motivate individuals toward positive change and collaboration. Solution-focused and problem-solving treatment models share similar theoretical views. However, the two models differ in their clinical methods. The problem-solving model based on cognitive-behavioral theory is supported by a vast amount of empirical research. In contrast, the solution-focused model is relatively new and, while primarily supported by theoretical writings, there are several studies as well. Only a handful of empirical studies compares the two treatment methods investigated in this study. Because defining the problem-solving treatment was inconsistent in these investigations, true comparisons with this study were few. In general.

PAGE 85

75 many of these studies shared the same methodological problems and none addressed the motherteacher dyad. Lastly, this review provided this researcher with extensive evidence for the need, the approach, and the measure of the study. The rationales for the need of the study were based on (a) the relevance of home-school collaboration models, (b) the importance of addressing the significant adults of behaviorally disordered children, (c) the development of new child mental health service delivery paradigms, and (d) the validation of en^owering brief therapy applications in diverse settings. The approach of the study is supported by attitudinal, communication, and psychotherapy research methodology. Finally, the measures of the study have technical adequacy as well as capturing the essence of relevant constructs tested in this study.

PAGE 86

CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Overview of the Study This investigation was designed to study the effects of three different home-school meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals (MHPs) on mothers and teachers of children with behavioral problems. The three types of meeting formats were: a solution-focused structured format, a problem-solving structured format, an a traditional, unstructured, no-format approach. Pre and post dependent measures were collected from mothers and teachers using the following measures: the Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire, the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (mothers only), and the SutterEyberg Student Behavior Inventory (teachers only). Post-test only data were collected from mothers and teachers using the Session Evaluation Questionnaire and the HomeSchool Meeting Satisfaction Survey. Delineation of Relevant Variables Being Studied Treatment Variables The independent variables of the study were two different home-school meeting formats: (a) solution-focused format (Group A) and (b) problem-solving format (Group B). There also was a control group (Group C), in which MHPs followed an open. 76

PAGE 87

77 unstructured format without guidelines. Treatment encompassed two levels of implementation: (a) training mental health professionals to use two different empowering models of therapeutic change, and (b) implementing a structured interview format. The MHPs of the control group (Group C) received neither training nor followed a structured interview format in the home-school meetings they conducted. Training consisted of twenty hours of training and group supervision provided in periods of fourand three-hour sessions on either problem-solving or solutionfocused models. They were conducted by the investigator with the assistance of the MHP's immediate supervisor. The format of the training modules covered four major areas: theory, assessment of client, commimication style, and applied methods. Training included didactic presentations, case discussions, role playing, modeling, and behavioral coaching. In addition, all participants received written materials relevant to their assigned model and were administered written tests after each of the last two training sessions. By the third training session, each MHP assigned to the treatment groups conducted a home-school meeting with the mother and teacher of one of their clients. A small-scale pilot study was conducted during the practice stage. The results were analyzed and changes were made that improved the original design. First, the length of the home-school meeting was changed from forty five minutes to thirty minutes due to teachers' time limitations. The structured interview was drastically adjusted to fit a thirty minute meeting, but without jeopardizing the models' core approach. The changes were necessary as it was felt that the meeting needed to respond to the realities of teachers' schedules.

PAGE 88

78 Second, the interview protocols underwent significant refinement, including the editing and layout of the interview content, to make it more "user friendly." An optional page printed on colored (pink) paper was included for both treatment interviews to serve as a cue to the MHP, to be accessed as an optional intervention in case the interview was not progressing as expected. Procedures must be rigorously implemented in a study to ensure treatment integrity (Gresham & Cohen, 1993; Shapiro, 1987). In this study, changes made after the pilot study facilitated the comfort of the MHP with the interview protocol as well as reinforced the idea of strict adherence to the particular treatment model. Second, the training practice stage with a parent and teacher dyad allowed facilitators to clarify procedures and discuss their experiences. Third, MHPs were also required to make notes during the interview and record the time the meeting started and ended. For both treatment groups, in the final stage of the interview a three-page carbon-copy form. All three participants, the MHP, the mother, and the teacher, at the end of the meeting received a copy of their goal or plan. These additional safeguards helped MHPs to adhere to the sequence and language of their model, to maintain their focus on developing a treatment goal or plan, and to adhere to the time restrictions. Last, by sharing all training sessions with the MHP's immediate supervisor, the researcher was able to maintain a clear focus on each of the different models presented without contamination or overlapping information from the other treatment models. Solution-focused treatment variable The solution-focused home-school meeting format was based on the brief-therapy models of de Shazer (1984, 1985, 1988) and O'Hanlon & Weiner-Davis (1989). Training

PAGE 89

79 was comprehensive, and included delineating language and inquiry style specific to the model. A major focus of the training was to change the mental health professional's focus from the client's pathology to the client's strengths (Appendix C). The structured-interview format covered the model's characteristic use of projective questions, scaling questions, and focus on the present and the future dimension (Appendix E). In particular, talking about problems was redirected to talking about solutions by identifying exceptions to problems, reinforcing strengths and past successes, reframing complaints, and setting small, attainable goals. Problem-solving treatment variable The problem-solving treatment variable was based on cognitive-behavioral theory (D'Zurilla, 1986; Kratochwill & Bergan, 1990) and applied methods of consultation, interpersonal conflict resolution, and other forms of therapeutic interventions (Jacobson, 1984; Robin & Foster, 1989; Zins & Ponti, 1990). The training module focused on cognitive-behavioral theory and clinical methods. Each of the five basic steps of problem-solving was thoroughly covered, as was language style and inquiry techniques (Appendix D). The training addressed such assessment techniques as specificity of problem identification and adherence to the identified problem resolution focus. Because each home-school meeting involved three individuals, it was important to include such communication methods recommended by cognitive-behavioral proponents as clarification, difilision of negative interactions, negotiation, and closure (Robin & Foster, 1989). The problem-solving structured interview format covered the model's characteristic five-step sequence (Appendbc E) including the three major components of

PAGE 90

80 problem identification: specificity, brainstorming, and selection of an alternative. In addition, MHPs in this group used a 12" x 1 8" white board on which they copied the participants' responses during the brainstorming stage. The visual cues provided by this method expanded association and creativity when addressing group problem-solving tasks (Javanthi & Friend, 1992). No-format/no-training treatment variable The MHPs of the control group (Group C) also received specialized training, supervision, or group meetings. They were individually directed to conduct home-school meetings and to write down relevant information that emerged in the interview on the forms provided. These forms consisted of three sheets of blank paper on which to take notes after a basic introduction, common to all three formats, was read at the beginning of the meeting. The three-page carboncopy form incorporated in the treatment groups' interviews was not used with the control group (Appendix E). Dependent Variables The selection of dependent measures for the study was based on the need to measure changes in three target areas: overall evaluation of the session (i.e.. Session Evaluation Questionnaire, Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey), self-perceptions of mothers and teachers regarding their own competence and that of the other (i.e., ParentTeacher Attitude Questionnaire), and perceptions of the identified child's behavioral problems based on a behavioral scale completed by mother and teacher. (Dependent Measures are included in Appendix F).

PAGE 91

81 Session Evaluation Questionnaire The outcome effects of the home-school meeting were measured using the Session Evaluation Questionnaire Form 4 (SEQ) developed by Stiles (1980). The SEQ is a short self-report that is easy to administer post-session self-report. This instrument meastires psychotherapy process and outcome by measuring reactions to a single session of therapy (Cummings, Slemon, HaUberg, 1993; Elliott & Wexler, 1994; Fuller & Hill, 1985;StUes,etal., 1988). Form 4, the latest version of the SEQ, consists of 24 bipolar adjectives presented in a semantic differential format based on a seven-point range (Stiles, 1989). All items are presented in mixed fashion. The first part of the questionnaire elicits the reaction of the participant to the session or evaluative dimension ("This session was. . .") and is followed by eleven adjective pairs describing the session as bad-good, safe-dangerous, difBcuIteasy, valuable-worthless and so on. The second part of the questionnaire addresses the immediate emotional reaction or affective dimension ("Right now I feel. . .") and is followed by another set of eleven adjective pairs (e.g. happy-sad, angry-pleased, confident-afi-aid). The choice of adjectives is based on " (a) classic semantic differential factors-evaluation, potency, and activity; (b) names of basic emotions-sad. happy, angry, and alraid-in the feelings section; and (c) scales whose rating distributions were not too badly skewed and whose dimension loadings were high in the small-group study. . ." (Stiles, 1980, p. 178). Stiles and Snow (1984) found that each SEQ factor had a high degree of consistency when measuring the same dimension. This is represented by an internal consistency index, with alpha coefficients ranging fi-om 0.78 to 0.91 by different raters.

PAGE 92

82 Jordan and Quinn (1994) reported a total SEQ Chronbach alpha internal consistency coefficient of .086 for two sessions only. Stiles (1989) described adequate statistics in stability, giving the same rating on different occasions. However, he explained that stability of scores should not replace test re-test reliability standings, as the SEQ responds to different targets or sessions. This latter issue is not a concern in the present study as all raters will be exposed to only one meeting or session. Stiles and Snow (1984) reported results of factor analytical studies that revealed several distinctive and consistent factors. In the evaluative dimension they found a depth/value factor and a smooth/ease factor, while in the affective dimension of the postsession state they found two other factors: positivity and arousal. Depth and value of the session were defined as perceptions of power and value, while the smooth and ease factor represented perceptions of relaxation and comfort. Positivity referred to feelings of happiness and confidence. Arousal reflected the participant's level of activity and excitement. Hence, the SEQ generated four scores: depth score, smoothness score, positivity score, and arousal score. The higher the score in each dimension, the higher the positive reaction to the level of depth, smoothness, positivity, and arousal. Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire The Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (PTAQ) was developed by Power (1985) and was used primarily to measure competence attitudes between parents and teachers. The PTAQ was the outgrowth of a dissertation research study completed in 1983. Items in the PTAQ were formulated after extensive interviews of nine individuals combined with a comprehensive review of related literature.

PAGE 93

83 The PTAQ is a self-report that is easy to administer. It contains 22 items presented in question form and separate versions are available for parent and teacher. An additional item (#23) is an open-ended optional directive in which parents are invited to write comments. The instrument uses a five-point Likert scale format stated as (1) not at all, (2) not that much, (3) somewhat, (4) much, and (5) very much. Validation of the PTAQ is based on factor analysis with a varimax rotation of the principal components generated by the parent-teacher data (Power, 1985). In this study, the PTAQ was administered twdce to the same subjects (N=380) producing 44 items instead of the usual 22 items in the scale. The second set was considered a new set of items because each administration was based on two different and opposite child behavior vignettes, underreactive and overreactive. Power (1985) reported a "meaningful" factor analysis based on several findings: the factor solution met Cattell's scree test and it reflected at least five percent of the total variance, the eigenvalue was 1 .00, and it kept four factor loadings > .40. Using the Kaiser's analytic factor relations technique. Power found two identified dimensions or factors: teacher competence and parent competence. The most psychometricaUy salient result in Power's study was the identification of two factors with adequate reliability: teacher competence (coefficient alpha .91) and parent competence (coefficient alpha .81). The first factor referred to the teacher's skills, student's needs awareness, and concern for children, while the second, parent competence, reflected similar descriptions, but applied to the parental role (i.e., parenting skills, child's needs awareness, and willingness to work with the teacher). These two

PAGE 94

84 factors, however, are only represented by three items each and Power (1985) failed to produce any other significant factors with the PTAQ. Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI) was developed by Eyberg in 1974 to assess disruptive behaviors of children between the ages of two and sixteen years. The ECBI consists of 36 items describing problematic child behaviors at home. Two areas are assessed for each item: (a) problem severity ("How often does this occur with your child?') based on a seven-point Likert scale ranging from "never" to "always" that represents the Intensity Scale and (b) problem identification ("Is this a problem for you?") based on a "yes" and "no" answer that represent the Problem Scale. Problem severity, represented by the Intensity Scale, generates the frequency of negative behavior with a maximum score of 252 and a minimum score of 36. In contrast, the Problem Scale produces a total score ranging from 0 to 36 points. This score represents an account of the number of behaviors that are problematic to the rater. The internal consistency coeflRcient was .98 for both the Problem Scale and the Intensity Scale for a nonreferred pediatric clinic sample of children aged 2 to 12, as well adolescents (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983). In addition, test-retest reliability coeflBcients for the Intensity Scale and Problem Scale were .86 and .88, respectively, during a three-week time span. Eyberg and Boggs (1989) also obtained reliability coefficients at three months rs = .80 and .85, and at 10 months rs = .75 and .75. Concurrent and discriminative validity studies using the Intensity Scale score and Problem Scale score show high correlations with other well-established child assessment

PAGE 95

85 instruments. Boggs, Eyberg, and Reynolds (1990) found the ECBI Problem and Intensity scores correlated higher with the ChUd Behavior Checklist's Externalizing Score (rs =.67, .75) than the Internalizing Score (rs =.48, .41) at ps<.0001. Similarly, Eyberg (1992) reported in 1991 a significant correlation between the Problem and Intensity ECBI scores and the Parenting Stress Index-Child Domain scores (.62, .59, ps<.0001) than the Parent Domain scores (.48, .41, ps<.0001). The ECBI also correlated with observations of children's negative affect while interacting with their mothers (WebsterStratton & Eyberg, 1982). Although limited in the number of participants (N=35), these researchers found a discriminating relationship between the ECBI and an established temperament instrument. Sutter-Evberg Student Behavior Inventory The Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory Scale (SESBI) is a rating scale designed for teachers to rate the disruptive behaviors at school of children aged 2-16 (Sutter & Eyberg, 1984). It is the school counterpart of the ECBI and complements the ECBI by assisting in assessing multiple raters of the child's behavior in yet another setting. The SESBI parallels the ECBI in its format, scale types (Problem and Intensity scores), numbers of items, simplicity, and strong technical foundation. Most SESBI items are similar to ECBI items. The SESBI, however, has some ECBI items adjusted to specific school-behaviors or unique items addressing school-only related behaviors. Research findings indicate adequate item analysis and test-retest stability coefficients for all items, reliability, and validity for the SESBI (Eyberg, 1992). The internal consistency coefiBcients found were .98 for the Intensity Scale and .96 for the Problem Scale (Funderburk & Eyberg, 1989). In this same study, one-week interval test

PAGE 96

86 reliability coefficients were .90 for the Intensity score and .89 for the Problem Scale. Similar high internal consistency coefficients have been reported with samples of preschool and school-age children (Eyberg, 1992). In her review of the literature, Eyberg (1992) described several SESBI validity studies. Eyberg provided additional empirical support for the technical strength of the SESBI by including in her review adequate but unpublished research studies. Of interest, two studies Eyberg (1992) reported in her review are relevant that were conducted by . Schaughency and associates in 1986 and 1989, but were not published. This group of researchers found the SESBI to correlate highly with the Externalizing Score (rs =.75, .83) of the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1986) but poorly correlated with the Internalizing Score (rs =.15, .16). Similar strong validity findings were reported with the Achenbach' s Direct Observation Form and other sociometric procedures reflecting convergent and discriminating validity. Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survev The Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) is a short, easy-toanswer questionnaire developed by the researcher to gather post-meeting satisfaction and level of agreement data. The HSMSS consists of eight items rated on a five point Likert scale, ranging fi-om strongly disagree to strongly agree. Items reflect factors identified in the literature as influential in the parent-teacher interface: communication, fi-equency, length of time, third party involvement, collaboration, and helpfiilness of the meeting. The HSMSS generated descriptive statistics regarding the ratings by the mothers and teachers of the meeting. Because this was not a validated scale, data collected was

PAGE 97

87 applied to a survey of items related to satisfaction with the meeting and areas documented in the the literature related to communication between parents and teachers. Description of the Population As of 1996, the total population of Brevard County in Florida was estimated to be 450,164 (Smith, 1997). The county includes the following cities: Melbourne, Palm Bay, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Port St. John, Titusville, and Cape Canaveral. In 1995, the adult female count for Brevard County was 177,617, including 161,581 Caucasian women and 12,503 African American women (Smith, 1996). There are a total of 74 public schools in the coimty, including 48 elementary schools, 14 junior high schools, 10 high schools, and 2 special education schools. In the 1994-1995 school year the Brevard County Public School had a total of 63,723 students enrolled in grades K through 12. The May 1996 student membership report of the Brevard County Schools indicated a total enrollment of 13,886 in elementary grades, excluding special education students. The first to sbcth grade regular class enrollment totals were 3,914. Records of Circles of Care, Inc., indicate that by the end of the 1995-1996 school year there were a total of 479 child clients receiving mental health services. However, no reports were available on these children's gender, race, or ethnicity. The population of the current study consisted of mothers of boys who met the following characteristics: (a) were enrolled in pre-kindergarten to sixth grade in the Brevard County Public Schools, (b) demonstrated manifestations of disruptive behaviors at school, and (c) were recipients of mental health services by Circles of Care, Inc. The

PAGE 98

88 range of behavioral problems included overactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness, noncompliance, poor socialization, aggressiveness, defiance of authority, lack of self-control, and other minor but pervasive acting-out problems that interfered with classroom learning. Thus, when grouped together this population compared favorably to Achenbach's and Edelbrock's (1983) classification of externalizing disorders. In addition, all children received Medicaid medical coverage or their families lacked the ability to pay for mental heahh services. In this study, for simplicity the child's primary female caretaker is designated "mother." This term included the child's biological, adopted, step or foster mother as well as any female relative in charge of the child's care (e.g., grandmother, aunt, sister). Teachers in the present investigation were fiill-time, female, Brevard County Public School employees who taught grades pre-kindergarten to sixth. As required by the Brevard County Public School Board, all teachers participating in this study were certified teachers in the State of Florida. Description of Sampling Procedures Several variables were controlled in the design of this study: (a) gender of child, parent, and teacher, (b) child's presenting problem, (c) language fluency, and (d) mother's race and ethnicity. The purpose of controlling through inclusion and exclusion was based on several factors. The taxonomy of child disorders has been well documented in the empirical literature. Child disorders fall into two main areas: internalizing disorders and externalizing disorders (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983). In addition, Power (1985)

PAGE 99

89 found differences in perceptions between parents and teachers if children were classified as overactive or underactive. Therefore, it was speculated that children with behavioral problems represented a unique population that specific characteristics which contrasts with that of children with internalizing problems. Ethnicity and language fluency characteristics were addressed in this study by the exclusion of parents who speak English as a second language. The two largest minority groups in Brevard County Florida are Afi-icanAmerican and Hispanic populations (Pierce, 1995). Most members of the growing Hispanic population in Brevard County speak English as a secondary language. Additionally, there is a deficit in Spanish-speaking educational and mental health professionals who could adequately address the needs of these children and their families. For this reason, this researcher included Hispanic participants whose primary language spoken at home was English. In order to control for race, the randomization of mothers followed an equal assignment of Caucasian and Afi-icanAmerican students in each of the three different treatments. Selection of Research Participants This study required the participation of three groups of participants: mothers, teachers, and mental health professionals (MHPs). Mothers and teachers were referred to as a unit or dyad. In order to control for history, treatment interaction, and other extraneous variables, each teacher/mother dyad was exposed to one of the study's three treatment conditions only. In contrast, MHPs were required to conduct multiple homeschool meetings within one treatment domain only.

PAGE 100

90 Mother and Teacher Dyads Upon obtaining permission from the Brevard County School Board and Circles of Care, Inc., mothers and teachers were invited to participate in the study. In large manila envelopes, prospective mothers and teachers were provided with a description of the study, the consent form, and an information sheet (Appendix G). The child mental health staff from Circles of Care was asked to invite clients whom they felt could benefit from a home-school meeting. Mothers were accessed from several Circles of Care programs where their children received mental health services: outpatient, in-home intervention, and school-based programs. Because Circles of Care's staff had regular contact with mothers, they were able to clarify consent implications and the study's purposes. Seven clients from the MHP caseload volunteered for the study. Random assignment of these clients was controlled by history with MHP and home-school meetings. This was done to ensure the integrity of results of treatment effects without the interference of extraneous variables, such as history and treatment interactions. Teachers from 24 Brevard County public schools volunteered to participate in the study. The locations of these schools covered the north, central, and south areas of the county. Teachers working at schools where there were school-based mental health programs were invited, were teachers who had students receiving outpatient or in-home mental health services. The latter group of teachers volunteered after the motherparticipant was first identified. These teachers were contacted in writing or orally by either the child's therapist or the researcher.

PAGE 101

91 The following procedures were implemented to acquire the minimum randomized sample of 60 pairs of mothers and teachers. Dyads were assigned to one of the three groups in the order in which their consent was obtained. This procedure allowed for randomization of assignment during all stages of data collection. A balanced assignment of African American mothers and Hispanic American mothers was applied to ensure control over race and ethnicity in the mothers' group. The researcher contacted the three Hispanic mothers who volunteered to ensure control over language fluency factors. Two of the three mothers were included in the study because they spoke English fluently and spoke only English at home. Mental Health Professionals Child mental health professionals (MHPs), employees of Circles of Care were invited to participate in the study. Fifteen (15) MHPs volunteered and randomly assigned to groups. To control for gender, each male therapist who volunteered was randomly assigned one each to the three groups. The resulting composition was four females and one male therapist per group. Their ages ranged from 27 to 55 years and their experience ranged from 1 to 15 years. MHPs held masters degrees in the following fields: 4 in mental health counseling, 3 in clinical social work, 2 in marriage and family therapy, 1 in human relations, 2 in counseling and guidance, and 3 in psychology. Description of the Resulting Sample Results of the randomization procedures produced a sample of 67 mother-teacher dyads. One dyad had to be eliminated because they did not receive the experimental

PAGE 102

92 procedures as delineated in the design. This adjustment brought the total of participants to 132 (N=132) or 66 mothers and 66 teachers. A total of 22 dyads were represented in each of the three experimental groups. The race/ethnic composition was as follows: (a) Group A had 3 Afirican American mothers, 1 Hispanic mother, 1 Native American mother; and 1 7 Caucasian mothers; (b) Group B had 4 African American mothers and 1 Hispanic mother, and 17 Caucasian mothers; and (c) Group C had 4 African American mothers and 18 Caucasian mothers. Group A (solutionfocused) consisted of 22 mothers ranging in ages from 25 to 68 years of age. Except for 3 grandmothers, the female caretakers of Group A were the biological mothers of the child. Female caretakers were predominantly the biological mother of the child, except for 3 grandmothers and 1 aunt. The 22 teachers in this group ranged from 25 to 53 years of age. All teachers were Caucasian and eight of these teachers had special education certifications. There were 7 teachers with masters degrees in education. Teachers in this group reported 1 to 36 years of experience in teaching. Group B (problem solving) consisted of mothers who reported to be 27 to 58 years of age. There were 18 biological mothers, 3 grandmothers, and 1 adoptive mother. Teachers in this group were all Caucasians ranging from 26 to 65 years of age. Their professional characteristics were 1 to 3 1 years of experience. There were 5 teachers who had masters level education; only one teacher had special education certification. Group C (control) consisted of mothers whose ages ranged from 24 to 54 years. There were 18 biological mothers, 3 grandmothers, and 1 aunt. Teachers in this group were 24 to 55 years of age. Except for 1 African American and 1 Asian American teacher, all teachers were Caucasian. Two teachers were certified in special education and

PAGE 103

93 two had masters degrees in education. The teachers' working experience ranged from 1 to 33 years. Description of Research Design This research followed two experimental designs. The first design was a randomized two group-control group design repeated for the mothers' groups and the teachers' group as illustrated in Figure 3-1. The pre-test post-test design met the need to measure changes in the selected dependent variables. The lapse of time between preand post-testing was between 1 to 2 weeks. This design controlled for history, maturation, selection, and instrumentation. Threats to internal validity occurred with attrition and interaction of pre-testing with treatment. The second experimental design is illustrated in Figure 3-2. This design included a randomized post-test-only control group design repeated twice for each subject group (mothers and teachers). This design met the measurement requirements of two dependent variables, the Session Evaluation Questionnaire, and the Home School Meeting Satisfaction Survey. The need for immediacy in collecting evaluative and affective information after the home-school meeting's conditions with the SEQ and the PTCSS could only be acquired using a post-test design. Due to these features, this design attempted to control the follovmg internal sources of invalidity: history, instrumentation.

PAGE 104

94 Figure 1 . Experimental Design I. PRE-TEST AND POST-TEST GROUP DESIGN Pre-test Treatment Post-test R 01 X (EA) 02M 02T R 01 X (EB) 02M 02T R 01 X (EC) 02M 02T 01 Solution-Focused 02M 02T 01 Problem-Focused 02M 02T 01 No Format/Training 02M 02T R = Random Assignment of Parents X = Home-School Meeting EA = Solution-Focused Experimental Treatment Eb = Problem-Solving Experimental Treatment EC = No Format/No Structure Control Group 01 = Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (All Subjects) 02M = Eyberg Child Behavior Scale (Mothers) (or) 02T = Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Scale (Teachers) maturation, selection, interaction of selection with other factors, testing, and, regression. Collecting measures immediately following the experimental treatment increased the likelihood of subjects adhering to the study's design.

PAGE 105

95 Figure 2. Experimental Design II. POST-TEST-ONLY CONTROL GROUP DESIGN Treatment Post-test Approach R X 03 Solution-Focused 04 R X 03 Problem-Solving 04 R X 03 No Format/No Training 04 Control Group R = Random Assignment of Mothers or Teachers X = Home-School Meeting 03 = Session Evaluation Questionnaire 04 = Home School Meeting Satisfaction Survey Null Hypotheses Hoi : Mothers and teachers will not differ significantly fi-om each other in their subjective evaluations of the home-school meeting, as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal Index, Smoothness Index, Positivity Index, and Depth Index.

PAGE 106

96 Ho2: The three treatment conditions will not differ significantly in levels of subjective evaluation of the home-school meeting, as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal Index, Smoothness Index, Positivity Index, and Depth Index. Ho3: Mothers and teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly fi-om each other by approach in their subjective evaluations of the home-school meeting, as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal Index, Smoothness Index, Positivity Index, and Depth Index. Ho4: Mothers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their self-perceptions of competence and their perceptions of teacher competence, as measured by the PTAQ. Ho5: Teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their self-perceptions of competence and their perceptions of competence toward the mother, as measured by the PTAQ. Ho6: Mothers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their ratings of their children's behavioral problems, as measured by the ECBS: Problem and Intensity Scores.

PAGE 107

97 Ho7: Teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not dififer significantly in their ratings of their students' behavioral problems, as measured by the SESBI: Problem and Intensity scores. Ho 8: Mothers and teachers will not differ significantly from each other or by approach in their levels of satisfaction with the home-school meeting, as measured by the HSMSS. Ho9: Mother-teacher dyads in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their levels of agreement, as measured by the HSMSS. Description of Research Procedures The investigator contacted all relevant administrative sources for approval to conduct the study and permission was granted. Circles of Care Circles of Care, Inc. was first established in 1961 as the Brevard County Community Mental Health facility. In 1982, the agency became a private, not-for-profit mental health facility. Currently, this agency incorporates a wide range of mental health services such as: private and public psychiatric hospitals, adult-day treatment hospitals, substance-abuse inpatient and outpatient programs, adult case management, forensic services, adult and child outpatient clinics, and outreach programs throughout the county. At the present time, Circles of Care has approximately 600 employees, six major treatment

PAGE 108

98 centers, and a large outreach program where services are provided to children and their families at school or home. Brevard County School Teachers The investigator requested and gained permission from the Brevard County School Board to access teachers and mothers of students for all home-school meetings conducted on school property (Appendix G). A letter was sent to all principals who either had a school based mental health program in the school or had students receiving other child treatment services from Circles of Care (Appendix G). Principals, who agreed to have their schools and faculties participate in the research discussed the study in their faculty meetings. Only one elementary school principal refused to have her school participate in the study. Upon the consent of the principal, teachers were invited to participate in the study. Research Procedures Sampling procedures began in March, 1997 and continued throughout the ten weeks of data collection. The time lapse between the pre-test and the home-school meeting ranged from several days to two weeks across all groups. A total of 96 motherteacher dyads (N= 192) were accessed throughout the sampling procedure, but only 67 dyads completed the home-school meeting. MHPs and the researcher were responsible for scheduling the home-school meetings as well as responding to all cancellations and rescheduling problems (Appendix H). There were no reports of mothers or teachers refusing to complete the home-school meeting.

PAGE 109

99 Consent and pre-test data envelopes were available to teachers in all participating schools, as well as to all Circles of Care stafiF working with children. The researcher contacted Circles of Care supervisors and clinical staff, and school principals on a regular basis to check for completed consent/pre-test data packages. These packages were delivered by Circles of Care staff to the researcher. Upon consent from a mother and teacher (completed dyad), the home-school meeting was scheduled. All home-school meetings were scheduled to last 30 minutes. Circles of Care staff, other than the MHP, were available in most schools to assist mothers with pre or post-test measures, if needed. This was done to ensure internal validity and reduce social desirability trends. Teachers expressed difSculty completing the post-test data immediately after the meeting due to their restrictive time schedule during the school day. Parents and teachers were given an envelope containing instructions (Appendk I) and all post-data measurement instruments. The order of the post-test measures was consistently presented in the following sequence: Session Evaluation Questionnaire, Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey, Parent Teacher Attitude Questionnaire, and either the Eyberg Child Behavior Scale (mothers only) or the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Scale (teachers only). Post-test data was collected by the MHP who waited in a different area as participants completed the measures. At other times, data was later collected by Circles of Care staff or the researcher. All envelopes were sealed to assure confidentiality and sent directly to the investigator.

PAGE 110

100 Description of Data Analysis The post-test only control group design was analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance. The pre-test-post-test control group design used an analysis of covariance to control for differences in the pre-test scores of the PTAQ, the Eyberg's Child Behavior Scale, and the Sutter-Eyberg Student Rating Scale. Tukey's post hoc tests were done to evaluate mean comparisons of significant findings. The Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey was studied using descriptive statistics. Pearson's Product Moment correlations were used on the SEQ factors to address level of agreement between the dyads. Statistical analyses were based on a predetermined p < .05 alpha level.

PAGE 111

CHAPTER IV RESULTS The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of three approaches to home-school meetings conducted by mental health professionals (MPHs). Dependent measures were obtained from mothers and teachers to address research questions in the following variables: evaluations of the meeting, perceptions of competence, ratings of child behavioral problems, level of agreement, and satisfaction ratings. In this chapter the researchers organizes the results of the investigation by these five areas and their corresponding hypotheses. Evaluation of the Meeting Variable Because the researcher was not predicting any differences based on a linear combination of the four SEQ dependent measures, four separate 2x3 analysis of variance tests were conducted to test Ho: 1, Ho: 2, and Ho: 3. These tests were applied using randomized, post-test-only control group design. Mothers and teachers (Group) were compared to three treatment approaches (Approach). An alpha value of .05 was selected to test for significant differences. Ho: 1 Mothers and teachers participating in the three treatment conditions wall not differ from each other in their subjective evaluations of the 101

PAGE 112

102 meeting as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal, Depth, Positivity, and Smoothness. The null hypothesis addressing diflferences in mother and teacher responses to the SEQ factors was rejected. Means and standard deviations of mothers and teachers total SEQ Factors' scores are presented in Table 4-1. Table 4-1. Descriptive statistics of total SEQ factor scores for mothers and teachers. Mothers Teachers Factor M SD n M SD n Arousal 21.95 5.17 62 20.80 4.83 65 Depth 28.42 5.52 63 25.69 5.52 65 Positivity 30.38 5.14 62 29.15 5.29 65 Smoothness 31.04 4.55 63 29.93 5.33 66 The four 2x3 ANOVA tests conducted on each of the four SEQ factors are presented in Table 4-2. Findings showed that there was a significant difference between mothers and teachers in the Depth factor as evidenced by an F ratio of 7.33 at a .008 alpha level. There were no other differences found between mothers and teachers in Arousal [F (1,126) = 1.75, p = .188], Positivity [F (1,126) = 1.70, p = .195], or Smoothness [F (1,128) = 1.60, p = .208]. Comparisons of the Depth's

PAGE 113

103 Table 4-2. Analysis of variance for mothers and teachers for SEQ factors. L>iil^ racior df SS MS F p Arousal Approach 2 121.13 60.56 2.49 .087 Group 1 42.64 42.64 1.75 .188 Approach* Group 2 59.50 29.75 1.22 .298 Total 126 3171.34 25.17 Depth Approach 2 23.16 11.58 .35 .703 Group 1 240.30 240.30 7.33* .008 Approach*Group Z 1119 34 713 total ill Positivity Approach 2 29.24 14.62 .53 .592 Group 1 47.11 47.11 1.70 .195 Approach* Group 2 18.12 9.06 .33 .722 Total 126 3455.43 . 27.42 Smoothness Approach 2 99.93 49.96 2.03 .136 Group 1 39.59 39.59 1.60 .208 Approach* Group 2 7.74 3.87 .16 .855 Total 128 3180.20 24.85 alpha= .05

PAGE 114

104 marginal means for group provided in Table 4-1 indicate that mothers (M=28.42) obtained higher scores than teachers (M= 25.69). Ho: 2 The three treatment conditions will not differ significantly in levels of subjective evaluation of the home-school meeting as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal Index, Smoothness Index, Positivity Index, and Depth Index. The null hypothesis addressing the participants' differences by approach was rejected. Descriptive statistical results are shown in Table 4-3. Means and standard deviations showed similar distribution of scores among all three approaches. The four 2x3 analyses of variance conducted did not yield significant results. The Arousal [F = 2.49, p = .087], Depth [F = .35, p .703], Positivity [F = .53, p = .592], and Smoothness [F = 2.03, p = .136] did not meet the predetermined alpha level of .05. Ho: 3 Mothers and teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ fi-om each other by approach in their subjective evaluation of the home-school meeting as measured by the SEQ's factors: Arousal Index, Depth Index, Positivity Index, and Smoothness Index. The null hypothesis regarding differences between mothers and teachers by approach was rejected. Means and standard deviations of teachers' scores by group and approach are presented in Tables 4-1 and 4-3.

PAGE 115

105 Table 4-3. Means and standard deviations for SEQ factors for mothers and teachers. Solution-Focused Problem-Solving Control M SD n M SD n M SD n Mothers Arousal 22.00 5.36 18 22.52 5.52 21 21.33 5.05 21 Depth 27.88 6.37 18 28.57 5.03 21 29.09 5.00 21 Positivity 30.77 4.25 18 29.95 5.48 21 31.57 4.63 21 Smoothness 29.94 4.22 18 31.00 4.86 21 32.42 4.14 21 Teachers Arousal 19.19 5.54 21 22.95 4.31 22 20.33 3.95 21 Depth 25.38 6.50 21 26.50 5.72 22 25.00 5.36 21 Positivity 28.90 6.33 21 29.18 5.44 22 29.28 4.24 21 Smoothness 29.04 6.55 21 30.13 5.48 22 30.74 3.99 21 None of the four ANOVA results showed an interaction between mothers and teachers in any of the four SEQ factors (Arousal, F = 1 .22, p = .298; Depth, F = .34, p = .713, Positivity, F = .33, p = .722; Smoothness, F .16, p = .855). All F obtained values failed to show significant differences at the selected p = .05. Table 4-2 displays the analysis of variance results of the interaction (Approach* Group).

PAGE 116

106 Perceptions of Competence Variable Ho: 4 Mothers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their self-perceptions of competence and their perceptions of teacher's competence as measured by the PTAQ. The researcher rejected the null hypothesis addressing the two levels of mothers' perceptions of competence. In order to control for pre-test variability, two analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to test this hypothesis based on a randomized, pre-test-post-test control group design with the pre-test serving as a covariate. Descriptive statistics are shown in Table 4-4. Table 4-4. Means and standard deviations for mothers' perceptions of competence. Approach Mean SD n Self-perceptions of competence Solution-focused 11.3500 1.4965 20 Problem-solving 13.0000 1.2566 20 Control 12.6250 1.6771 20 Total 12.3250 1.6256 60 Teacher's competence Solution-focused 12.7143 1.2705 21 Problem-solving 13.6316 1.5709 19 Control 13.0000 1.5894 20 Total 13.1000 1.5037 60

PAGE 117

107 Results of an ANCOVA procedure showed that the two covariates were efifective in controlling variance. A significant difference in approach was found in both levels of mothers' perceptions of competence. As presented in Table 4-5, each analysis produced significant F values for mothers" self-perceptions of competence [F (2, 59) = 4.482, p = .010] and for mother's perceptions of teachers' competence [F (2, 59) = 4.86, p = . Oil]. Table 4-5. Analysis of co variance for mothers' perceptions of competence. Source df SS MS F p Variable Self-perceptions of competence Within Between Total Teacher's competence Within Between Total alpha = .05 1 34.155 2 16.541 60 9270.250 1 61.158 2 11.048 60 10430.00 34.155 20.828 .000 8.271 5.043* .010 61.158 53.893 .000 5.524 4.868* .011 Post hoc Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) tests were done to identify the significantly different means in both levels of mother's perceptions of competence. The first post hoc test, depicted in Table 4-6, shows that in mothers' self-perception there were significant differences between the problem-solving group

PAGE 118

108 and the solution-focused group. However, there were no differences found between solution-focused and control or between control and problem-solving group means. Table 4-6. Post hoc tests for mother's perceptions of competence. Approach Ordered M MS Error Variable df Error Tukey Self-perceptions of competence 1.640 56. 1. Solutionfocused 11.633 2. Problem-solving 12.939 3. Control 12.403 Step differences (11.633) and (12.939) .0059' n 1 633'> and (\2 403") .14795 (12.403) and (12.939) .38864 Teachers' competence 1.135 56. 1. Solution-focused 12.723 2. Control 12.905 3. Problem-solving 13.722 Step differences (12.723) and (13.722) .01232* Step differences (12.723) and (12.905) .85239 (12.905) and (13.722) .04842* alpha = .05

PAGE 119

109 The second Tukey procedure appUed to the mother's perception of teachers' competence variable also indicated that the problem-solving group mean was significantly different, but this time the problemsolving mean was statistically different fi-om the other two groups. The results suggest that mothers in the problem-solving group obtained the highest levels of perceived competence as measured by selfperceptions and perceptions toward teachers. Ho: 5 Teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their self-perceptions of competence and their perceptions of competence toward the mother as measured by the PTAQ. The results of testing the null hypothesis that teachers would not differ in their self-perceptions of competence and perceptions of competence toward mothers was not rejected. The randomized pre-test post-test control design of this hypothesis was tested using two analysis of covariance procedures. The descriptive statistics shown in Table 4-7 reflect similar means and distributions for teacher's perceptions of competence. However, the range is wider in the scores obtained fi-om teachers" perceptions of mothers' competence. The problem-solving group had a relatively low number of subjects. Missing data points occurred in pre-test items related to teachers' perceptions of mothers' competence. Teachers reported not being able to respond to these items because of lack of knowledge about their student's mother.

PAGE 120

110 The results indicate that the covariate was successful in parceling out variance for both analyses (see Table 4-8). The F value proved to be non-significant for differences in teachers' self-perceptions of competence [F (2, 62) = .149, p= .862] an( teachers perception of mothers' competence [F (2, 56) = 1.084, p = .346] at the predetermined .05 alpha level. Table 4-7. Means and standard deviations for teachers' competence scores. Approach Mean SD n Self-perceptions of con:i5)etence Solution-focused 12.7727 1.2318 22 Problem-solving 12.4250 1.6486 20 Control 12.7619 1.5461 21 Total 12.6587 1.4642 63 Mothers' Competence Solution-focused 10.4286 2.9928 21 Problem-solving 9.7500. 3.2965 16 Control 12.1500 2.3902 20 Total 10.8021 3.0106 57

PAGE 121

111 Table 4-8. Analysis of covariance for teachers' competence. Source df SS MS F p Variable Self-perceptions of competence Within Between Total Mother's competence Within Between Total alpha = .05 Ratings of Children's Problems Variable Ho: 6 Mothers participating in the three groups will not differ signilBcantly in their ratings of their children's behavioral problems as measured by the ECBS: Problem and Intensity Scores. The null hypothesis six was partially rejected. This hypothesis was tested using a randomized, pre-test-post-test control group design. Table 4-9 summarizes the means and standard deviations obtained for mothers' scores in the Eyberg Child 72.770 72.770 73.340 .000 .295 .147 .149 .862 63 10228.25 231.888 231.888 56.169 .000 8.952 4.479 1.084 .346 57 7208.000

PAGE 122

112 Behavior Inventory's Problem and Intensity scales. The Problem Scale referred to ratings of each behavior as a problem to the rater and the Intensity Scale addressed the frequency of the behavioral problem on a scale of 1 (Never) to 7 (Always). Table 4-9. Means and standard deviations for mother's perception of children's problem. Approach M SD n Child's behavior is a problem to mother Solution-focused 18.4444 9.8293 18 Problem-solving 15.9000 7.8197 20 Control 14.0588 9.9967 17 Total 16.1636 9.2030 55 Intensity of child's problem Solution-focused 151.2250 39.7917 21 Problem-solving 127.4500 32.5956 20 Control 141.1750 26.5614 20 Total 139.9500 34.2902 60 Two analyses of covariance tests were conducted in order to control for pretest variability. Both ANCOVA results showed the covariates were successful in controlling variance. Table 4-10 summarizes the ANCOVA tests results.

PAGE 123

113 Table 4-10. Analysis of co variance for mothers ratings of child behavior problems. Source df SS MS Variable Child's behavior is a problem to mother Within Between Total 1 2 55 2834.861 2834.861 92.186 .000 69.117 18943.00 34.558 1.12 .333 Intensity of child's problem Within Between Total 60 36335.47 36335.47 3368.707 1684.354 1244534.00 74.424 .000 3.450* .039 alpha = .05 The null hypothesis regarding differences in mothers' ratings of children's behavior in the intensity score as significant differences was rejected at an F value of 3.450 at p = .039. However, the null hypothesis section addressing differences in the Problem score was not rejected as the data yielded an F value of 1.124 (p = .333). The descriptive statistics reported in Table 4-9 reflect that the three groups had similar distributions for the Problem variable.

PAGE 124

114 Table 4-11. Post hoc tests of mother's ratings of children's problem intensity. Approach OrHprpH M MS Frror df Error Tukey 488.221 56 1. Solutionfocused 149.260 2. Problem-solving 13U.OJO 3. Control 139.753 Step differences (130.838) and (149.260) .02872* Step dififerences (130.838) and (139.753) .41460 (139.753) and (149.260) .36835 alpha .05 Tukey' s HSD post hoc tests were done to identify the significant differences between group means (Table 4-11). Significant differences were found between the problem-solving group and the solution-focused group. However, there were no differences between the problem-solving and control group or between the solutionfocused and control group. These results indicate that the mother's problem-solving group post-test scores in this study were lower in the ECBI Intensity Scale than the post-test scores obtained in the solution-focused, but not the control group.

PAGE 125

115 Ho: 7 Teachers participating in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their ratings of their student's behavioral problems as measured by the SESBI: Problem and Intensity Scores. The null hypothesis addressing significant changes in teachers' ratings of child's problems was not rejected. This hypothesis relied on the scores obtained in the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory Problem and Intensity Scales. The former refers to teachers' evaluation of each behavior as a problem to them, and the latter addresses ratings on the frequency of the problematic behavior in a scale of 1 (Never) to 7 (Always). The summary of descriptive statistics in Table 4-12 showed similarities in means and distribution of the data. In the randomized pre-test post-test control group design an analysis of CO variance was utilized. As Table 4-13 demonstrates, the covariate (Within) proved successfiil in reducing variance in both the Problem and the Intensity pre-test scores. However, neither tests produced a significant F value for Problem scores [F= 1.763, p = .181] or for Intensity scores [F=2.093, p = .137] at the predetermined .05 alpha level.

PAGE 126

116 Table 4-12. Means and standard deviations for teachers' ratings of children's problem. Approach M SD n Variable Behavior viewed as a problem Solution-focused 11.6111 9.3629 18 Problem-solving 13.8571 7.5451 21 Control 12.7619 7.8924 21 Total 12.8000 8.1549 60 Intensity of problem Solution-focused 129.000 34.6039 22 Problem-solving 133.7619 34.6409 21 Control 130.9524 36.6735 21 Total 131.2031 34.7988 64 Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Variable Ho: 8 Mothers and teachers will not differ significantly fi"om each other or by approach in their level of satisfaction with the home school meeting as measured by Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey.

PAGE 127

117 Table 4-13. Analysis of co variance for teachers Ratings of children's behavior problems. Source df SS MS F p Variable Child's behavior is a problem, to teacher Within Between Total Intensity of child's problem Within Approaches Total alpha = .05 The null hypothesis addressing the response of mothers and teachers to the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) was rejected. The HSMSS items ranged on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree) with higher scores representing more positive satisfaction. Because the HSMSS was not a validated instrument, a composite score could not be used to test for significant differences. Descriptive statistics are presented for HSMSS items' means and standard deviations for mothers and teachers (Table 4-14), as well as for mothers and teachers per approach (Table 4-15). These means and distributions appear to be similar. 2836.478 2836.478 153.001 .000 65.369 32.685 1.763 .181 60 13754.00 50036.00 50036.00 115.429 .000 1780.913 890.456 2.054 .137 64 1178003.00

PAGE 128

118 Table 4-14. Summary of means and standard deviations for HSMSS items. Mothers Teachers Item jyi 11 M SD n 1. H-S meeting withMHP 3.2581 1 .0392 bz J.J 1 o 1 0401 66 2. Results of meeting 4.2769 .6252 65 4.U1 J .ooo 1 66 3. Length of time 3.8462 .8520 65 3.68 1.0294 66 4. Recommend to friends/colleagues 4.2969 .727 64 i.OJ .63 1 6 ou 5. Frequency 3.8154 .9865 65 1 1 ^ J.OJ ID .7jOj 6. Helpful to child/student 4.2769 .6497 65 4.0769 .7564 65 7. Easier communication 3.9538 .9088 65 4.030 .8588 66 8. Helpful in working closer 3.9231 .9067 65 3.9697 .8033 66 In Table 4-16 the frequency of mothers and teachers responses to each item of the survey are reported. Examination of these responses indicate that most ratings clustered toward the above average (4).

PAGE 129

119 Table 4-15. Means and standard deviations of HSMSS items by approach. Solution-Focused M SD n Item Problem-Solving M SD n Control M SD n 1. MHP Mothers 3.31 1.0705 22 Teachers 3.54 .9117 22 3.44 .983 18 3.31 1.249 22 3.04 .950 22 3.09 .921 22 2. Results Mothers 4.18 .588 22 Teachers 4.05 .898 22 4.33 .658 21 4.31 .646 22 3.86 1.037 22 4.13 .639 22 3. Length of time Mothers 3.63 1.09 22 Teacher 3.80 1.00 22 4. Recommend Mothers 4.23 .700 21 Teachers 4.04 .785 22 3.95 .669 21 3.56 1.34 22 4.38 .669 22 3.86 1.037 22 3.95 3.72 .722 22 .702 22 4.27 .827 22 3.59 .666 22 5. Frequency Mothers 4.02 1.15 22 Teachers 3.45 .738 22 3.71 .902 21 3.90 1.10 22 3.70 .881 22 3.59 .908 22 6. Helpful Mothers 4.27 .702 22 4.42 .597 21 Teachers 4.33 .658 21 3.95 .898 22 4.13 .639 22 4.00 .690 22 7. Communication Mothers 4.22 .812 22 3.90 .889 21 3.86 .774 22 Teachers 4.04 .950 22 4.27 .827 22 3.72 .767 22 8. Working Closer Mothers 4.04 .950 22 4.00 .632 21 3.86 .888 22 Teachers 4.09 .683 22 4.00 .872 21 3.81 .852 22

PAGE 130

120 Table 4-16. Frequency distribution of mother and teacher ratings of HSMSS items. Solution-Focused Problem-Solving Control Mother/Teacher Mother/Teacher Mother/Teacher (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Item 1. 1/5/3 6/7 6/9 4/3 -12 4/3 4/8 8/4 2/5 2/1 2/4 12/10 5/6 1/1 2. -/-12 2/2 14/11 6/7 -/I -/I 21 10/10 9/6 -/-/2/3 11/13 9/6 3. 211/4 3/1 13/13 3/4 -/3 -/2 5/2 12/9 4/6 -/1/2 3/3 14/16 4/1 4. • -/-/I 3/3 10/12 8/6 -/I -/I 2/4 9/10 10/6 -/-/I 5/8 6/1 1/1 5. 1/1/5/15 4/4 11/3 -/I -/12/8 3/4 6/9 -/-/12/15 4/1 6/6 6. -/-/3/2 10/10 9/9 -/-12 1/3 10/11 10/6 -/-12 3/3 13/1 -/7. -/1/2 2/3 10/9 9/8 -/2/1 3/2 11/9 5/10 -/1/2 5/4 12/14 4/2 8. -/3/12/4 7/12 -16 -/-/2 4/2 13/12 4/6 -/1/1 7/7 8/9 6/5 A factorial analysis demonstrated that the HSMSS items were highly correlated with one another. Therefore, a multivariate analysis of variance was applied to each separate item as a dependent measure. The Pillais criterion was selected to analyze the high correlation between the items. The overall MANOVA results did not show any significant differences between approach, group, or interactions for all eight items. Neither the Approach test [F = .83343, p= .645]the Group test [F = 1.85603, p =

PAGE 131

121 .088] nor the Approach* Group test [F = 1.26496, p = .234] yielded a significant difference at the predetermined .05 alpha. The results are summarized in Table 4-17. Table 4-17. Multivariate analysis of variance for HSMSS items. Source df Pillais Approximate F p Between 16 .23124 .83343 .645 Interaction 16 .33114 1.26496 .234 Group 8 .22897 1.85603 .088 alpha = .05 Level of Agreement Variable Ho: 9 Mother-Teacher dyads in the three treatment groups will not differ significantly in their level of agreement as measured by the HSMSS. The null hypothesis addressing the agreement level between mother and teacher on their attitudes toward the home-school meeting was not rejected. A new dyad variable was created to address this hypothesis. Level of agreement was defined as the sum in a dyad of the mother's and teacher's score. In order to be computed as a specific item dyad score, both mother and teacher pairs had to have the specific item completed. i

PAGE 132

122 Because the HSMSS instrument was not validated empirically, a cumulative score for each mother/teacher dyad could not be used. Instead, the composite dyad score for each of the eight items in the questionnaire was treated as a separate dependent variable in a multivariate analysis of variance test. Results yielded no significant differences by treatment approach (Table 4-18). The overall MANOV A F value of .83343 at p = .645 failed to meet the .05 standard set for alpha level. The eight univariate tests produced for the eight HSMSS items also did not meet this alpha level: MHP in the meeting [F = 1.53471, p = .224], satisfaction with results [F = .38002, p = .686)] length of time [F = .37579, p = .688], recommend to friends/colleagues [F = .83173, p = .441], fi-equency of meeting [F .22105, p = .802], helpful to child/student [F = 1.04828, p = .357], communicate easier with teacher/ mother [F = 1.64292, p = 202], work closer with teacher/mother [F = .28999, p = .749] . These results are summarized in Table 41 9. Table 4-18. Multivariate analysis of variance for composite dyad score for each HSMSS item Source df Pillais Approximate F p Approach 16 .23124 .83343 .645 alpha = .05

PAGE 133

123 Table 4-19. Univariate F-tests for each composite dyad score of the HSMSS. Variable df SS MS F P 1. MHP 2,57 7.08131 3.54066 1.53471 .224 2. Results 2, 57 1.02879 .51439 .38002 .686 3. Length 1 0081 1 37579 688 4. Recommend 2, 57 1.83131 .91566 .83173 .441 5. Frequency 2,57 1.08851 .54426 .22105 .802 6. Help ChUd 2, 57 2.34798 1.17399 1.04828 .357 7. Communicate 2, 57 5.50404 2.75202 1.64292 .202 8. Work 2,57 1.01061 .50530 .28999 .749 Summary of Results The data analyses of the nine hypotheses tested yielded significant and nonsignificant results. Significant differences were found in the following areas tested: (a) mothers and teachers differed significantly in their evaluation of the meeting as a valuable experience (Depth factor), (b) mothers differed by approach (i.e. problemsolving) in self-perceptions of competence, and (c) mothers differed by approach (i.e. problem-solving) in perceptions of teachers' competence. The hypothesis addressing the mothers' perceptions of the child's behavior was partially rejected as the problemsolving mothers group obtained a significantly lower score in ratings of child behaviors

PAGE 134

124 by intensity but not in their perception of tlie behavioral being a problem to them. Statistical procedures conducted to test hypotheses addressing the arousal, positivity, and smoothness factors of the Session Evaluation Questionnaire did not generate any differences. Similarly, hypotheses addressing differences in teachers by approach or differences in level of satisfaction and agreement were not rejected. In conclusion, mothers as a group and problem-solving as an approach showed the most significant statistical differences in the analyses conducted.

PAGE 135

CHAPTER V DISCUSSION Summary The purpose of the present study was to investigate the efifects of different homeschool meeting formats conducted by mental health professionals with mothers and teachers ofelementary school children with behavioral problems. The foUo wing areas were assessed: evaluation of the meeting, perceptions of competence, ratings of chUd's behavior, satisfaction with the meeting, and level of agreement. Mental health professionals conducted the experimental meetings using two different models of brief therapy. A control group used a traditional method during the meetings. Each of the sixty six pairs of mothers and teachers met for one meeting lasting one half-hour. The design of the study foUowed a randomized pre-test post-test control design as well as a post-test only control design. Data was collected during Spring, 1997. Discussion of Results Statistical analyses of the data indicated some significant differences between mother/teacher groups. First, mothers and teachers differed in their evaluation of the meeting (SEQ Depth factor). Mothers across all treatment approaches found the homeschool meeting to be more valuable than did the teachers. None of the other three SEQ factors (Arousal, Positivity, and Smoothness) showed significant differences between 125

PAGE 136

126 mothers and teachers. Testing for significant differences by treatment approach did not reveal any significant interaction eflfects on these four factors. Secondly, the results of pretest posttest data showed significant differences between mothers in the different approaches. The problem-solving approach proved to be superior in the home-school meeting over the other two treatments in increasing the mothers' self-perceptions of competence and their perceptions of teacher con:^)etence. In addition, mothers fi-om the problem-solving group demonstrated improvements in posttest ratings of their child's behaviors. Although these mothers rated their children's behavioral problems as less fi-equent, they continue to report that these behaviors were a problem to them. In contrast to these effects, other results did not show significant differences. None of the mothers in the solution-focused and control groups showed significant differences in post-test scores on self-perceptions of competence, perceptions of teachers' competence or ratings of child behaviors. The teachers in this study, as a group, did not show any significant changes in any of these post-test measures. The hypotheses addressing level of satisfaction and level of agreement were tested with the Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) that was not previously validated. Due the lack of this instrument's psychometric strength, analyses were conducted on each of the items of the survey. There were no statistical differences found in levels of satisfaction as measured by each item of the HSMSS. However, examination of the fi-equency and means obtained in each of these eight items revealed that that the majority of mothers and teachers gave above average ratings with a higher tendency for mothers to rate these items in the superior level.

PAGE 137

127 Statistical analyses used with the level of satisfaction variable were appUed to the mother-teacher dyad level of agreement variable. The data yielded no differences in agreement level between approaches or between mothers and teachers. Considering the psychometric weakness of the instnmient, conclusions regarding differences in the level of agreement and level of satisfaction were considered inconclusive. Implications The implications of the study are discussed here from three frameworks: theoretical, research, and practical perspectives. Theoretical Implications Despite the apparent conceptual similarities between the two empowering models investigated, there were distinctive differences in the problem-solving and solutionfocused methods applied to home-school meetings. These differences may partially explain the results foimd by this researcher. Problem-solving approach This approach was designed to focus on the sequence of basic steps of problemsolving. When compared to the other two approaches, the structure of the problemsolving sequence and the visual cues incorporated (i.e., writing the alternatives on a board during the brainstorming stage) may have produced a more dynamic, clear, and tangible meeting. By actively eliciting ahematives from all participants to solve a mutually identified problem, it is speculated that the problem-solving approach may have contributed to

PAGE 138

128 treatment efifects with mothers. The joining of mother, teacher, and MHP together in the generation of alternatives (i.e., brainstorming stage) may be related to what many in the field recommend: elevating the role of the parent as an expert. This three person activity may have impacted on mothers' estimates regarding their competency as a parent. Research on parental self-efficacy has shown that mothers tend to base their evaluations of competence through social comparisons (Johnston & Mash, 1989). The effects found in the mothers, who participated in the problem-solving group support the cognitive behavioral position that a positive relationship exists between selfefficacy and cognitive interpretations of events or individuals (Masterpasqua, 1989). Relevant to the findings in this study is the consistent report that a positive correlation exists between parental levels of self-efficacy and parental perceptions of child's behaviors (Johnston & Marsh, 1989; La Roche, et al., 1995). Similarly, Spaccarelli and his associates (1992) found that after parents received problem-solving training their appraisals of their child's behavior inq)roved. The researchers gave two possible explanations for their findings: parental improvements in coping skills or a decrease in negative thinking. This latter explanation may relate to the results found in this current study with the mothers in the problem-solving group. In addition, a relationship may exist between the problem-solving approach and cognitive changes as measured by self-perceptions of competence, perceptions of competence toward the teacher, and appraisals of their child's behavior. Solution-focused approach Although associated with brief therapy, the solution-focused home-school meeting model may require more that thirty minutes as well as subsequent sessions to adequately

PAGE 139

129 measure its eflfects. Scott Miller (personal communication, 1996) indicated that the approach responds to "ripple effects" or to changes evidenced at a later time, not immediately. In addition, the group design of the current study may prove to be an inadequate approach to test the client-centered, idiosyncratic approach of the solution focused model. The lack of effects in the SEQ factors: Arousal, Depth, Positivity, and Smoothness are challenging to explain considering the positive approach of both the problem-solving and solution-focused models. Jordan and Quinn (1992) considered the SEQ as too sensitive or too positively biased to changes with the solution-focused model. The results of this study failed to support that conclusion. Empowerment construct The changes observed in mothers' perceptions of competence raised interesting implications to the empowerment construct. The data in this study yielded different results in competence level by approach and by group, reinforcing the assumption that empowerment is not a static characteristic but a relational construct (McWhirter, 1994). Furthermore, McWhirter explained that being a woman and having low socioeconomic status are variables associated with low levels of empowerment. Mothers in this study met both of these population characteristics. Improvements in the perceptions of competence with the problem-solving approach supported previous findings attesting to the model's effectiveness in increasing self-eflBcacy and empowerment (McClam & Woodside, 1994; Webster-Stratton, 1993; Witt & Martens, 1988; Zins, 1993).

PAGE 140

130 Research Implications The current findings add to the vast accumulation in the literature supporting the positive treatment effects of the cognitive behavioral problem-solving model. The data also sustained once more the versatility and simplicity of the model in multiple contexts. The data also demonstrated that all mothers, regardless of the approach, found the home-school meeting with a mental health professional valuable and meaningful (Depth factor). An exploratory study by Thompson and Hill (1993) found that with adult clients the depth of the session was associated v^th the facilitative style of the therapist. However, it is unclear if the presence of the MHPs, their facilitative style or the combination of both contributed to these significant differences with all mothers. Thus, the home-school meeting when conducted by a mental health professional may be a fiaiitfiil medium for clinical intervention with mothers who have children with behavioral problems regardless of the treatment approach used. The lack of changes observed with teachers across all three approaches was similar to those found by Landis (1992). In her school consultation study she compared behavioral and solution-focused approaches. Teachers did not show changes in selfefiBcacy, ratings of children's behavioral problems, attributions of change and treatment acceptability. Based on the findings in this study, the value of the home-school meetings may be weighted differently by mothers and teachers because mothers may be more emotionally invested with their children than teachers are with their students. These differences may also be explained by findings in the educational literature. Parents described more positive experiences with parent-teacher conferences than teachers (Carlson, et al., 1992; Lotz &

PAGE 141

131 Suhorsky, 1989). Parents also preferred to communicate with teachers face to face (Arnold, et al, 1994), and valued discussions of specific issues regarding their children (Munn, 1985). However, the current findings failed to support the results of McCamey (1986) who found that mothers of behaviorally disordered children may be intimidated by the size and formality of multi-professional groups while teachers preferred the support of other professionals in their meetings with parents. Power's investigations (1985) fiirther expand on the dififerences between mothers and teachers. He found that when children exhibit overactive behaviors neither parents nor teachers perceive each other as competent. That is, parents and teachers as separate groups may "value its own contribution to the home-school relationship more than it is valued by the other" (1985, p.75). Inevitably, Power contented that this type of perception toward each other leads mothers and teachers to hold a conflictual and competitive relationship. Considering the changes observed in the mothers' problemsolving group in this study, the resuhs imply that mothers of "overactive" children improved their perceptions of competence toward the teacher. Furthermore, Delgado-Gaitan (1992) linked mother's level of empowerment with the degree of collaboration with schools. The findings of this study imply that the problem-solving approach may be a promising method to establish maternal collaboration. By increasing maternal self-perceptions of competence and perceptions of teachers' competence, the problem-solving approach may be more conducive for mothers to work collaboratively with teachers.

PAGE 142

132 Practical Implications The challenges of applied research are to translate statistical significance into practical significance. How can, or should, the findings of this study guide clinical practice? An important contribution of the present findings is the support for the role expansion of the mental health professional with new paradigms of service delivery. Considering the current crisis in health care services to children in the private and public sector, expanding mental heahh interventions in diverse settings is an important task to pursue. The current study supports the fevorable effects mothers experience when mental health professionals are involved in home-school meetings to address the child behavioral problems. Furthermore, the mothers appear to find the home-school meetings valuable regardless of the treatment approach used by the MHP. The results of testing in this study corroborated that mental health professionals may consider a home-school meeting as a direct parent-oriented treatment intervention. The problem-solving approach is a viable clinical option to MHPs who have limited time to meet with a mother and teacher. Although seemingly very child focused in its content and purpose, the problem-solving home school meeting format proved to be an effective parent-oriented intervention in improving mothers self-perceptions of competence, the perceptions of competence of the teacher, and developing a positive orientation toward their child's behavior.

PAGE 143

— ^"W^ 133 Limitations Limitations of the study were found in five major areas: generalizability of findings, conceptual definitions, design, demographic variables, measures, and missing data. Generalizability of Findings The results of this investigation are limited to the population selected to participate in this study and to the procedures that were implemented. Public school district elementary school teachers met with mothers whose male children received mental health services for behavioral problems and were recipients of federally funded health insurance (i.e.. Medicaid). Mental health professionals were masters level clinicians trained in a variety of counseling fields who worked in a private not for profit community mental health center. Conceptual Definitions Changes related to competence level found in this study need to be interpreted carefiilly. Parental competence seems to be a complex construct defined by three components: parental self-efiBcacy, self-esteem, and satisfaction (Johnston & Mash, 1989). However, the researcher found the terms parental competence and parental self-eflficacy used interchangeably in the literature. For purposes of this particular study, the researcher defined parental perceptions of competence by the two factors Powers' (1985) found in the PTAQ (i.e., self-perceptions of competence and perceptions of competence toward the teacher). Although statistically significant, each of these factors are limited by a restrictive range of three test items.

PAGE 144

134 Design Two design issues may imply a limitation to the investigation. First, the researcher adapted the home-school meetings to thirty minutes to fit the reaUties of time restrictions reported by teachers. This may have interfered with the opportunity to test for treatment effects more thoroughly. Second, the investigation was conducted during the last grading period of the school year. It is possible that this may have impacted on results as well, especially with the participating teachers. Demographic Variables Randomization was effective in balancing demographic characteristics except for teachers' certifications and level of education. Teachers in the solution-focused group had a relatively higher number of special education certifications (33%) and masters level education (31%) than the teachers in the problem-solving group (5% and 22% respectively), and control group (9% and 9% respectively). These two characteristics may be confounding variables that need further exploration. In addition, procedures for randomized assignment were successfiil in balancing the number of African American mothers in each group. This may imply that the results could be generalized to Afi-ican American mothers. However, due to the limited number of volunteers balanced assignment was not obtain with Hispanic American and Native American mothers. It is possible that current findings may or may not be generalizable to these two ethnic groups of mothers.

PAGE 145

135 Measures It is possible that the measures used were not suitable to detect subtle changes. First, the instrument selected to assess changes in the "viewing of the problem" provided a comprehensive assessment of the child's behavioral problems as well as ratings regarding the rater's perception of the behaviors as a problem to them. Although problematical, the assessment of the phenomenological shift or cognitive reframing changes may have been more effectively assessed with a measure addressing the primary problems or problem discussed in the home-school meeting. Second, the satisfaction measure used in this study lacked psychometric strength, making the satisfaction and agreement variable difficult to assess reliably. Missing Data Problems with missing data occurred throughout the study. The researcher accessed more mother-teacher dyads per experimental group (n=22) than the twenty dyads proposed to coimteract this problem. However, close examination of the data revealed that the problem-solving group had a relatively low number of teachers who answered items in the teachers' perception of mother's competence factor (n=16). Although statistical procedures were fixlly and properly conducted, the low number of subjects may raise important issues. Many teachers failed to complete pre-test items related to parental competence because they reported lacking information about mothers. As a result, pre and post test analyses could not be conducted in these cases for the perceptions of mother's competence factor.

PAGE 146

136 Considering that mothers in the problem-solving group showed significant improvements in their perceptions of teacher's competence, the researcher questions if treatment effects may have been influenced by a lack of teacher information due to multiple factors or by the low fi-equency of contacts between mothers and teachers. Frequency has been found to positively correlate with parental perceptions toward school (Arnold, et al., 1994; Harry, 1992; McCamey, 1986). Recommendations for Future Research The findings of this investigation raised new research questions that could guide fliture empirical work and expand the knowledge base in the field. The recommendations for fiiture research are the following: 1 . There is a need to develop validated instruments to assess satisfaction and agreement level with home-school intervention procedures. 2. The solution-focused home-school meeting interview format, as conceptualized in this study, may need revision. In addition, more investigation is needed to test if a home-school meeting of longer duration or a different research design would support this model. 3. There is a need to investigate the outcome effects of home-school meetings based upon who requests the meeting: the parent, teacher or mental health professional. 4. Empirical exploration is needed to address possible confounding variables to the home-school meeting such as specialization and educational level of the teacher, fi-equency of mother-teacher contacts, ethnicity of mother, and implementation of the study earlier in the school year.

PAGE 147

137 5. Comparative studies between traditional parent-teacher conferences and homeschool meetings conducted by MHPs may shed light to their beneficial effects with populations at risk. 6. Follow up studies are imperative to assess the longevity of treatment effects, especially those found with mothers in the problem-solving group. Considering the findings, it seems be important to detect if mothers will follow through with the plan developed in the meeting as well as what improvements occur with the child's behavior and the mother-teacher working relationship. 7. The collaborative working relationship of the mother and teacher continues to be an important field of investigation. In particular, its impact should be tested on child behavior at school and home. Changes in mothers and teachers may be monitored by measuring the fi-equency of their meetings, adherence to the plans jointly developed, attitudes toward each other, and assessment of competence in parenting and teaching. 8. It is equally important for fiiture researchers to study the outcome effects of home-school meetings as an adjunct intervention to school-based and outpatient treatment. New mental health service delivery paradigms are in the making in order to respond to the needs of children at risk. The current study widens the knowledge area by empirically testing different models of brief therapy as applied to home-school meetings. The results of this study supported the role of the MHP as an effective agent of change with mothers of children who exhibited behavioral problems. Further understanding in this area will expand the effectiveness of mental health practices in diverse settings.

PAGE 148

APPENDIX A COMPARISON BETWEEN TREATMENT MODELS Differences Solution-Focused Problem-Solving 1 . Goals developed via fantasy, visualization 2. Attention given to old solutions and resources Brainstorming done throughout session via "What else?' questions Reframes information Uses circular questions Searches for mini changes Looks for talents 8. Focused approach without specific stages Goal setting is a crucial step Follow up assignment based on what is already working Applications limited to therapeutic interventions Supported by qualitative research Language is the therapy 2"'' order changes: Small change starts ripple effect 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 1 . Goals developed via problem specificity 2. Attention given to new alternatives, create new resources 3. Brainstorming done at specific stage by generating multiple alternatives 4. Digs for information 5. Uses direct questions 6. Big changes underline the goals 7. Looks for deficits 8. Structured approach with specific stages 9. Problem definition is a critical stage 1 0. Follow-up done to evaluate effectiveness of chosen alternative 1 1 . Applications widely used in therapeutic and non-therapeutic activities 12. Supported by experimental research Completion of stages is the therapy 13. 14. 1 order changes: Linear, cause and effect thinking 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Similarities Behavioral description of the presenting problem Global goals avoided (e.g., self-esteem, acting-out) Use of brainstorming techniques Humor encouraged Emphasis on communication skills (i.e., active listening, summarizing) Positive orientation: Change is possible, all problems have solutions Competency view of individuals Highly focused approach Specialized techniques employed 138

PAGE 149

APPENDIX B CONTRAST BETWEEEN SCHOOL MEETINGS AND COUNSELING* Parent-Teacher Conference Mental Health Counseling H-S Meetings w/MHP i Teacher initiates contact Client initiates contact MHP initiates contact Child has a problem Client has a problem Unclear who owns the problem Client is child or parent Clear client definition Has multiple clients May relate to child or to school procedures May or may not relate to a third party Relates to third party (child) Based on sharing information Based on the therapeutic alliance Based on collaboration School system sets standards Client set the standards Participants set the standards Follows a diagnostic/remedial model Follows a diagnostic/medical model Competence perspectives No formal consent Requires written consent Requires written consent Teacher is the expert Therapist is the expert Parents & teachers: Experts Sponsor: School Sponsor: Client Sponsor: School or parent Involves multiple systems Often involves one system Involves multiple systems Teacher controls child at school Parents control child at home Parent & teacher control the child Time: 20 minutes Time: 1 hour Time: 30 minutes • *Traditional Parent Teacher Conferences • *Traditional Mental Health Counseling • *Home-School Meetings with MHPs as conceptualized in this study 139

PAGE 150

140 Brief Therapy and Home-School Meetings Similarities Brief-Therapy Home-School-MHP Meeting 1 . Time limited 1 . Time is limited 2. Intermittently provided 2. Provided as needed 3. Invites significant others 3. Parent & teacher participate 4. Advocates planned sessions 4. Interview format is the plan 5. Present orientation 5. Addresses current concerns 6. Sessions need focus 6. Focus on problem, goal, «fe plan j 7. Small changes are valuable 7. Small changes are the goal 8. Change is inevitable 8. Positive outlook on change 9. Therapy is in every day life 9. School is every day life 10. Competence view 10. Competence view 1 1 . First sessions are important 1 1 . It may be the only meeting 12. Builds on relationships quickly 1 2. Requires quick joining skill j 13. May have focus on 3"^ party 13. Focus is on 3"* party: Child 14. Collaborative approach 14. Collaborative methods 15. Therapist is active 15. MHP keeps an active role

PAGE 151

APPENDIX C SOLUTION-FOCUSED TREATMENT TRAINING First and Second Training Sessions (8 hours) A. Paradigm Shift Exercises B. Home-School Meetings and Brief Therapy Methods C. Theoretical Foundations 1 . Empowerment Models a) Rogers, Adler b) Post Modem Constructivism 2. Solution-Focused Model a) de Shazer, Berg, Miller, Lipchick b) O'Hanlon, Weiner-Davis D. Techniques 1 . Solution-Talk 2. Interviewing Methods 3. Communication/Counseling Methods 4. Inquiry Methods 5. Goal Setting 6. Changing the Viewing and Doing of the Problem 7. Strengths Identification E. Solution-Focused Home-School Meeting 1 . Interview Methods 2. Review of the S-F Meeting Structured Interview F. First Meeting Give Practice H-S Structured Interview G. Second Meeting Review Experience and Modify Structured Interview 141

PAGE 152

142 II. Third Training (4 hours) A. Review of Modified Structured Interview B. Role Playing Exercises (Four Cases) C. Quiz#l D. MHP Conducts 2 Home-School Meetings III. Fourth Training (4 hours) A. Review of Home-School Meetings Completed B. Group Supervision C. Quiz #2 D. MHP Conducts 2 Home-School Meetings IV. Supervision and Training Session (4 hours)

PAGE 153

APPENDIX D PROBLEM-SOLVING TREATMENT TRAINING I. First and Second Training Sessions (Total 8 hours) A. Problem-Solving Exercises B. Home-School Meetings and Brief Therapy Methods C. Theoretical Foundations 1 . Cognitive Theory a) Cognitive Construct b) Meta-cognitive Processes c) Internal Processes d) Information Processing Deficits 2. Learning Theory a) Learning Constructs b) Skills Training Postulates D. Techniques 1 . Cognitive Restructuring 2. Behavioral Interview 3. Communication Skills 4. Problem-Solving Models E. Problem-Solving Home-School Meeting Model 1 . Problem Identification a) Problem Orientation b) Problem Clarification 2. Generation of Alternatives 3. Evaluation of Alternatives a) Decision-Making Models b) Sequencing and Communication Skills 143

PAGE 154

144 4. Implementation Plan F. Problem-Solving Home-School Meeting Interview 1 . Interview Methods 2. Review of the Home-School Meeting Structured Interview G. Meeting Give Practice Home-School Structured Interview H. Second Meeting Review Experience and Modify H-S Structured Interview II. Third Training Sessions (4 hours) A. Review of Modified Structured Interview B. Role Playing Exercises (Four Cases) C. Quiz#l D. MHP Conducts 2 Home-School Meetings III. Fourth Training Session (4 Hours) A. Review of Home-School Meetings Completed B. Group Supervision C. Quiz #2 D. MHP Conducts 2 Home-School Meetings IV. Supervision and Training (4 Hours)

PAGE 155

APPENDIX E HOME-SCHOOL MEETING INTERVIEWS 1 . Solution-Focused Home School Meeting Interview 2. Problem-Solving Home School Meeting Interview 3. Home-School Meeting Interview (Control) 145

PAGE 156

146 Solution-Focused Home-School Meeting Interview Child Mother Teacher Introduction I want to tbaak_ Date_ Starting time MHP and for coming to this meeting. Have you met already? As I shared with you a few weeks ago, we are conducting a study on different home-school meetings. We would like to know ways to work with parents and teachers together. We are going to meet for 30 minutes. I will keep notes throughout our discussion. By the end of our meeting we will have a plan to help do better at school. Conference Goals Because our main interest is I would like to discuss his current situation and particularly what seems to be working right. I have found that when three heads are put together, and look for solutions, it's amazing what we can come up with... The fact that you both made it to the meeting today is a first step. It shows that you are both interested in helping How do you view 's situation? M Mirror Lang_ Metaph_ MatchSeiaes_ Oarify_ Summarize Strengths?? Refram e What would you like to see changing? M Different Similar Clarify Acknowledge Summarize Join Goal s EXCEPnONS_ Associate (*) TIME_ Wow!! How did you come up with that idea? How were yoa able to make him do that?

PAGE 157

147 OPTIONAL (IF not clear....) EXCEPTIONS Video of Life without the Difficulty M Excepiioni ' Language Metaphor Reframe Seiuorul Lang_ BeUef_ Mirror — Reflect Clarify (l-IOj Match Senses Srrengha''? Regframe WHEN..... Skeleton Keys_ (When is the difTiculty not occurring? When it occurs less? Summ Tell me about a time when did not have the difTiculty.^ What have you tried in the past that worked? Clarify How come things are not worse?) Reflect Acknowletige Associate (*-) CHEERS!! WOW! TIME

PAGE 158

148 MIRACLE QUESTION (Start Goal Setting) M T SUMHOarify If not what the? (RtalutK) What wUI be different^ t How will you tell? mat will you be doing differently^ Max Home Max i§ School Relevant (1-10) SmaUestaep__ SoUMJy small steps_ *><*) Exeepiioiis_ Strengths K*Mpreeess What steps tloyou need to take? What will be the smallest step? (-Mi what else accds lo happca????) Specific Concrete wow; What a clever idea.'.' (Let's imagine we kind of bump each other at the school cafeteria and you tell me that is doing better and you begin to tell me the steps that you took to help get there What would that be like? )

PAGE 159

149 SOLIDIFY GOALS SOLIDIFY SPECinC COAL Vst Carbon Copies Plan of Action Change the yiewing Change the Doing I bive le«r»ed qaite i bit from botfc ofytx todiy. It »*tnn that j-oo botb hivt «lr»«dy lome pretty good ideas of wtit m>rks wilb aad that yon have a pretty jood scatc of all the appropriate behaviors is doiacI thialt that we are oa the rijht tnek_It set mi that yo« can eof tiaae to do what already is worldat with For Eumple M Add whei docs not respoad try sooiethiot different, like : M T REPnXRATE CONFERENCE GOALS Did we aett oar goals today? M T K* (*) Futdingt/Stimmarize I would like to end meeting and thank you again for your time. It's been quite a productive meeting. I am impress with the manner in which: When begins to Mother YES If yes, when NO IDK _Would botb of you like to meet again to sbarc bow your ideas are workiog? Teacher YES If yes, when ^? NO IDK TIME

PAGE 160

150 Problem-Solving Home-School Meeting Interview Child Date_ Mother Starting time_ Teacher MHP Introduction I winf to th«nk and for contiag to thij mtertni;. H«ve you met «lre«dy? As I shared with you a few weeks ago. we are conducting a study on differeot humc-scbool meetings. We would like to know ways to work with parents and teachers together. We are going to meet for JO minutes. I will keep notes throughout our discussion. By the end of our meeting wc will have a plan to help do better ac xhooL Confarence Goals Because our main interest is . I would like to discuss his current situation and ia particular I would like to KC if we could identify a problem and choose the best plan of action to uke. I have found that problems can be resolved in many kinds of ways...and if we work together w« can often come up with creative ways to help . Problems can be resolved with many dilTerent kinds of opcioas or alleraalivea. PROBLEM IDENTIFICA HON Are there any problems that you want to address today? M T TIME Keflea_ Summarize Examyta Diffennets Simitaruiti_ Tlumt s B«st Today (+)Workable Coasensus Problem Sated ia (-•) TIME

PAGE 161

151 OPTIONAL Can you help me undersund this problem a little bit better? VMiat would you like to see happening? M T Rtdtfuft Ejampits— When? When? WUh Whom? For How Long? How often? Anltctdents'' Consequences? Reframt Workable^ Clear^ Zammorce Ctori/ v Themes t4iinutFrobUm?_ Consensus

PAGE 162

152 BRAINSTORMING Now that we are clear of what the problem is, let's brainstorm aod come up with some ideas on how we could solve the problem. Let's just think of as many options as possible. We do not need to decide if our ideas are right or wrong answers-Ut's jnst come np with as many as possible....our goals is lots of ideas, quantity.-this is when 3 heads are better than one — Use Board lfiW_ What IS needed^ How do we know it works'' Plan of Action fWiitc on carbon copies and give copies to M and Tt

PAGE 163

153 Would you like to meet again to see how the plan is working? (P) Yes Ifya, when? (T)Yes Ifyti. Wh.o? No No IDK JDK I want to thank and today.. Foi impressed with how much we accomplished our meeting. It sure was hard work but you developed a pretty good plan of action. Copy brainstorming responses from board Copy (+) and (-) process during decision making/evaluation Give Copy of Plan to M and T Time Finished

PAGE 164

154 Home-School Meeting Interview Date Starting Time MHP Introduction I want to thank and for coming to this meeting. Have you met already? As I shared with you a few weeks ago, we are conducting a study on different home-school meetuigs. We would like to know ways to work with parents and teachers together. We are going to meet for 30 minutes. I will keep notes throughout our discussion. Child_ Mother_ Teacher

PAGE 165

155 Would you like to meet again to see how is doing and if our ideas today are working? (P) Yes If yes, when? (T)Yes If yes, ivhen? No No IDK IDK I want to thank and today I'm impressed with how much we accomplished in our meeting. It sure was hard work but you developed a pretty good plan of action. Time Finished

PAGE 166

APPENDIX F DEPENDENT MEASURES 1 . Session Evaluation Questionnaire Form 4 (SEQ) 2. Parent-Teacher Attitude Questionnaire (PTAQ) PTAQ Parent Form PTAQ Teacher Form 3. Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI) 4. Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory (SESBI) 5. Home-School Meeting Satisfaction Survey (HSMSS) Parent Form Teacher Form 156

PAGE 167

157 Today's Date Session Evaluation Questionnaire Fora U / ^ Please circle the app«.priate nu=ber to show how you feel about today's session. Thl^ Bo«5;lon was; Bad 1 2 3 ii •* c 6 7 Good Safe 1 c. ii •f 6 7 Dangerous Difficult 1 4 5 6 7 Easy valuable i 4 5 6 7 Worthless 2 4 5 6 7 Deep 4 5 6 7 Tense unpj.eaBaiib i 4 5 6 7 Fleajsant SSil 1 1 2 4 5 6 7 Qnpty eajL 1 2 4 5 6 7 Powerful dpeoiSJ. 1 4 6 7 Ordinary Rough 1 5 9 4 6 7 Ssootb uoDXoruaoxe i 5 4 6 7 Uncomfortable p" jnt now ± leeis nappy i 9 4 R 6 7 Sad Angry 1 3 ii n e 9 w 7 1 PleAsed novlDg 1 3 h *» 3 £ 7 still Dnoertaln1 •9 2 3 D 7 1 Calm 1 2 3 5 6 7 Excited Confident 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Afraid Wakeful 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sleepy Friendly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Unfriendly Slow 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Fast Energetic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Peaceful iDTOlved 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Detached Quiet 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Aroused

PAGE 168

158 PTAQ Parent Form Child's Name. Directions: Please answer each question as to hou it applies to your child, indicated above. Circle the number corresponding to the response that best describes uhat you believe. Please ansuer all questions. Use the follouins scale to make your ratinss: 1 2 3 4 5 Not at all/ Not that Someuhat/ Much Very much None much Some Example: Hou much homeuork. do teachers assisn this child? 12 3 (T) 5 Number 4 was circled indicating that the teachers assigned MUCH homeuork to this child. 1. To uhat extent do you think this child has a Rrobiem in school? 1 2 3 4 5 2. Hou effective are the teachers of this child in manasing children's behavior? To uhat extent is your child's school behavior similar to that displayed at home? 4. To what extent has your child's school experience this year had a positive effect on him/her? Hou skilled do you think you are in assisting this child uith school uork? Hou effective are the teachers of this child in relating to you as parents?

PAGE 169

159 7. Hou closely does this child need to be supe classroom? rvised in the 8 Uhen/if this child is disruptive in school, to uhat extent should you become involved to help resolve the problem? g. Hou auare are you of this child's social and emotional needs? J. 2 3 A S 10. Hou much do the teachers enjoy having this child in class? 1 2 2 A S 11. To uhat extent should the teacher keep you informed about this child's behavior and social adjustment in school? 1 2 3 A S 12. To uhat extent do family matters affect this child in school? 1 2 3 4 5 13. Hou skilled are this child's teachers in educating him/her? 12 3 4 5 lA. To uhat extent do you cooperate uith the teachers' suggestions about hou to uork uith this child? 15. To-uhat extent do you feel this child's teachers need to change their teaching methods? IB. Hou important is it for the teachers to address this child's social and emotional needs? 12 3 4 5 17. Hou effective are you in managing this child's behavior? I 2 3 4 s

PAGE 170

160 18. Hou «uare «re the teachers of chi» child's social «nd emotional needs? 19 To what ex-.enc should you keep the teacher informed about this child -s behavior and social adjustment at home? 1 2 3 A 5 20. Hou much special help do you think your child needs in school? 21. To uhat extent do you feel your parenting practices uith this child need to chanae? 1 2 3 4 S 22. How effective are you in relating to this child's teachers? 1 2 3 4 5 23. Hou much contact betueen home end school is needed uith this child? Feel free to include your comments:

PAGE 171

161 PTAa TEACHER FORfl Child's Name each question as to hou it epplioa ,23^5 Not at ail/ Not that Someuh«t/ Much Very ttuch None much Some Example: Hou often have the parents of this child contacted you? 1 2 3 O ^ Number 4 uas circled indicating that the parents of this child have had PIUCH contact with the teacher. To uhat extent do you think this child has a problem in school 7 Hou effective do you think, you are in mAnasins this child's behavior in class? 3. As far as you knou, to uhat extent is this child's school behavior similar to that displayed at home? To uhat extent has the child's school experience this year had a positive affect on him/her? 12 3 4 5 Hou skilled do you think you are Ln. educating this child? 1 2 3 4 5 Hou effective are the parents in relating to you as the teacher?

PAGE 172

162 7 Hou closely does this child need co bo supervised in the classroom? When/if this child is disruptive in school, to what extent should the parents become involved to resolve the problem? 9. Hou auare are the parents of Chis child's social and emotional needs? 12 3 4 5 10. Hou much do you enjoy havins this child in class? 1 2 3 4 5 11. To what extent should you keep the parents informed about this child's behavior and social adjustment in school? 12. To what extent do family matters affect this child in school?1 2 3 4 5 13. Hou skilled are this child's parents in educating him/her? 1 2 3 4 5 14. To uhat extent do the parentscooperate with your sussestions about hou to uork uith this child? 15. To uhat extent do you feel you need to change your teaching methods uith this child? 16. Hou important is it for you to address this child's social and emotional needs? 17. Hou effective are the parents in managing this child's behavior?

PAGE 173

163 18. Hou «uare are you of this child's social and emotional needs? 19 To what extent should the parents keep you informed about ' this child's behavior and social adjustment at home? 20. Hou much special help do you think this child needs in school? 21. To uhat extent do you feel the parents methods of uorkins uith this child need to change? 1 2 3 4 5 22. Hou effective are you in relating to tha.s child's parents? 12 3 4 5 23. Hou much contact betueen home and school is needed uith this child? Feel free to include yur comments:

PAGE 174

164 Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Source Book (VoL 11) EYBERG CHILD BEHAVIOR INVENTORY Daasianc Be!o« ire » «n= °' phrua thai dscribe children's behivior. Pleaie (i) drde ihe number docribinj haw ofim the behivior eunmfy occura wih your child, ind (b) crdc eilher "YET
PAGE 175

165 Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Source Book (Vol 11) Rater's Name Relationship to Child . Date of Rating Child's Name. Child's Age _ Child's Sex SUTTER-EYBERG STUDENT BEHAVIOR INVENTORY Dinaonc Delow ire i lerio of phmo tint decrilw chndren't befuvior. Pleuc (i) circle Ihe numlxr dearibin j how often the behavior amnalf occun with ihii itudent. and (b) circle either "YESar "NO" to indicate whether the behavior u amufy apmbln It diii a frohlan foryouT JIo)»oflaidoa*isoearwtih:luj'midauT NevaSeldom Somabna Oflat AJwayt 1. Dawdles in obeyinj rula or instructions 12 3^ 5 6 7 YES NO i Artues with teachen about rules or instructions 1 9 1 < X ^ J ^ 5 6 7 YES NO 3. Has difllculty accepting criticism or correction I 2 i * 5 6 7 YES NO 4. Does not obey school rules on hisyher own 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 5. Refuses to obey until threatened with punishment 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 6. Gets an jry when doesn't get his/her own way 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 7. Acu deflant when told to do something 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 8. Has temper taniiums 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 9. Sasses teacher(s) 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 10. Whines 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO U. Cries 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 12. Pouts 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 13. Yells or screams 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 14. HiU teacher(s) 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 15. Is eareles with books and other objects 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO \6. Destroys books and other objects 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 17. Steals 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 18. Lies 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 19. Makes noises in class 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 20. Tpues or provokes other studous 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES tto 21. Acts bocsy with other students 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 2Z VertMlly lights with other students 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 23. Physically (ighu with other students 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 24. Demands teacher attention 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 2S. Interrupts teachers 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 26. Interrupts other students 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 27. Has didicully entering groupi 12 3 4 J 6 7 YES NO 28. Has didiculty sharing materials 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 29. Is Bnooopentive in group activities 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 30. Blames othen for problem behavion 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 31. Is euily distiscted 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 32. Has diflieutty staying on task 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 33. Acts tnistnied with difTwult tasks 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 34. FaQs to Cnish tasks or projects 12 3 4 5 6 7 YES HO 35. Impulsive, acts before thinking ] 2 3 4 5 6 7 YES NO 36. Is overactive or restless ] 2 3 4 5 6 7 YES HO

PAGE 176

166 HOME-SCHOOL MEETING SATISFACTION SURVEY Par«nt Form Name Date 1. I prefer to do teacher conferences with a therapist or counselor: w , , , AoTM Strongly Ay-c«« Strongly Oisag raa 2. I am satisfied with the results of the meeting: strongly Ox»«gr»« DlaagrM 2 Soaaahat Xgraa 3 A g raa 4 Strongly Agra* 5 3. The length of time (30 minutes) of the meeting was OK: strongly »i..gr.. B^"*"Sc-.-h.t *gx^ Strongly Agr4. I would recommend home-school meetings to other parents; strongly Di»»yx«" 1 DlaagzM 2 (tiat AgxM 3 5. Meetings like today should be done: ODoa a yMr Tvlea a yMr 1 2 laaary 3 6. This type of meeting will help my child: strongly Oiaagraa Diaagx»a Soaawhat Agra* Agra* 4 (vary grading pariod Strongly Agxaa 5 On a ragular zagolar baaxa Agra* 4 Strongly Agxaa S 7. Communicating with the teacher was easier: strongly Dlaagraa Dlaa gi aa 2 •abat Agxaa 3 Kjrm» Strongly Agxaa 4 S 8. Home-school meetings will help me work closer with my child's teacher: strongly Oiaagraa Diaagraa Soaavbat Agxaa Agraa 1 2 3 4 Strongly Agxaa 5

PAGE 177

167 HOME-SCHOOL MEETING SATISFACTION SURVEY Taachar Fozm Maae Data drdyour mnm^ b—1 on tta. ho-.-.chool —ting you p«^eip«t-d tod-y. 1. I prefer to do parent conferences of students with behavioral problems with a mental health professional: 1 OlMtgxM SoMwh«t XgxM Aqxm a 3 4 Serongly A ijJ. «« . 5 2. I am satisfied with the results of the meeting: strongly Di«*gr»« 1 DlsaqxM 2 3 4 5 3. The length of time (30 minutes) of the meeting was adequate: scroogly Dlsagza* OlMgxM SoMwhat Xgxaa Kgxmm 2 3 4 atrongly AgzM S 4. I would recommend home-school meetings to my colleagues: StronqJ-y DisagxM 1 DiaagxM Sn— ti«t A q raa Aqxmi 2 3 4 Strongly J> yi »> 5 5. Meetings like today should be done: One* a yMr Twxea a yaar IRvanarw aacasaaxy Xvary grartinq pariod Od a ragular ragular baaia 6. This type of meeting will help my student: acroaqly Dxa igi aa 1 Diaagraa 2 latiat A gx aa 3 4 Strongly S 7. The meeting facilitated communication with my student's parent: strongly Diaagxaa 1 Diaagxaa Sn— tiit A gx aa A g raa 2 3 4 Strongly >uiaa 5 8. Home-school meetings will help me work closer with my student's parent : strongly Di aigi aa Pi aa gx aa what Hgi mm Strongly Jlgiaa

PAGE 178

APPENDIX G LETTERS Consent Letter and Information Sheet Mother Consent Letter and Information Sheet Teacher Letter to Superintendent Letter to Principals 168

PAGE 179

169 Dear Parent: I am a student at the University of Florida under the direction of Dr. Wittmer. I am studying ways that meetings between parents and teachers are most helpful. I am asking sixty mothers and sixty teachers to join in this study. There will be no cost to you nor can we pay you for your time. Notes that we take about the meeting will not have your name on them. There should be no risk or discomfort to you. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer and you can stop being in the study at any time without consequence to you or the services you and your child receive from Circles of Care. You and your child may not benefit from this study right now; but, we hope this study can improve parent-teacher meetings in the future. If you decide to take part, we will ask you to do three things: 1 . Have a 30-minute rheeting with your child's teacher and a Circles of Care therapist. 2. Spend 1 hour with the Circles of Care therapist the week before the parent-teacher meeting to complete 3 forms. 3. Take about 30 minutes after the parent-teacher meeting to complete 4 forms. If you have any questions about this study you may call me at 676-6688 or come to the Circles of Care at 424 4*, Indialantic. If you have any questions about participants' rights you may call or write the UFIRB, University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; (352)392-0433. Sincerely, Maria I. G. Cooper, Researcher Keep this part Return this pan I agree to voluntarily take part in Maria Cooper's ParentTeacher meeting study. I have received a copy of this paper. Would you like to know the fmal results or findings of this study? Please Circle: Yes, I am interested No, I am not interested My Name Child's Name My Signature Today's Date Approved by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB 02) for use through FEB 0 3 1998 Witness Signature Date

PAGE 180

170 Parent lnf"""a*'0" Sheet Child's Name Date of Birth Place of Birth Grades Repeated Does your child receives special education services now? Yes No If yes, please explain what type of special services^ **************************************************************** Personal Information of Mother or Legal Guardian Name Date of Birth Place of Birth Race/Ethnicity: African American Language Spoken at Home: Asian American O Hispanic AmericanQ Native American CH White American [I] Other Marital Status: Married Separated Divorced Widowed Single Relationship to Child:Biological MotherQ Adopted MotherD Foster MotherD Step-MotherD GrandmotherD Aunt Other Family Members Living at Home (Please provide name and age)

PAGE 181

171 ************************************************************************ How can "vvc reach you? Daytime/Evening Telephone Address Best Time to Schedule a Home-School Meeting Name of your child's Therapist I talk with my child's teacher? Whenever my child has a problemD Several times a weckQ 1 monthQ 3 monthsD 6 months Once a ycarQ

PAGE 182

1 172 Dear Teacher: es investigate what hcne-school meeting approaches will be best for mothers and teachers. The studv's design will require for all participants to: 1.* Meet with the mental health professional briefly a week before the scheduled parent-teacher conference. 2_ Participate in a 45 minute home-school meeting. 3. Complete several brief forms or questionnaires before and after the home-school meeting. This research is being conducted through the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Joe Witt.Tier, Dr. Cecil Mercer, Dr. Janet Larsen, a.nd Dr". Max Parker. If you wish to contact the University, of Florida regarding this study you may do so at: uri?3 Office, Box 112250 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 32S11-2250. Sing student's progress. If you have any questions you can contact me at 676-6588. You can also reach me at 424 4*^ Ave., Indialantic, FL. 32903. Approved by the Thank you for your cooperation and help. Un;ver?iW of FJ^rto'.c .• -.-.I V Institutional RevJcv/ Boi * ' (IRB 02) for use throug FEB 0 3 1998 Maria I. (Maritza) Gallardo Cooper, MA, LMFT, LS?, Researcher coKszNT roan: I agrae to participate in this study. .1 a= aware that I nay withdraw froa the study at. any tiae. 1 understand the ia5or=atioa Pprovided in this letter and have decided to participate in this study. Print Wa.me Date Your Signature Witness Signature I would like to k.-jow Che Ji.-.al tesulcs or rindinga ot this ssufiy. Pleaae Circle: YSS, I *a i.icerested. NO. I not interesced.

PAGE 183

173 Teacher InfonnatioD Sheet Name:. Today's Date. School: How can we reach you?_ Daytime Telephone Evening Telephone Male Students you teach who receive Circles of Care mental health services for behavioral problems: Professional Training and Eiperience Level of Education: BATES MA/MEd/MS Eds EdD/PhD Teaching Experience yrs. Working @ Current School yrs. Certified as: When? Personal Information Date of Birth Place of Birth Race/EthnicityrAfrican American Q Asian American O Native American Q Hispanic AmericanQ White American Other

PAGE 184

174 Dr. Daniel Scheuerer, Deputy Superintendent Brevard County School Board 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way Viera, Florida 32940-6690 Dear Dr. Scheuerer: Pollowin, on ou. phone conversation I », providing you with a copy of consent foniis and additional infomation. The purpose of .y i"-"^'"^;:,^?," ^^:?LeJ\:Sirr^nrtefch:?s'or' ;t^U?ti:irof"ro;^»noe?"r^5inr^1=hi!d .ehavior proMe^, le.ei of satisfaction, and level of collaboration. ^ ^ ^„ start collecting data for my dissertation research in February IBsT fneed 60 dyads of mothers and teachers who will volunteer to 1997. 1 neea Mnthers will be accessed from the active Ta^loarof Chi d%utpa lent°c5!entrfrom%ircles of Care. Participants ^iU be required to meet for 45 minutes and complete the pre and post T.lt measures Meetings will be conducted at the student's school. ^hJre "n be'no cost ?o the school system other than the teacher's time to the home-school meeting. This study does not present any potential physical, economical or psychological risks. It is always possible, however, that minor 5iscomfo?t may be induced by the interpersonal demands of the task the time required, and the discussion of sensitive information (i.e child s behavioral problems). Considering the competence-based methods tested in this study, beneficial effects would be more likely such as an increase in competence, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. My doctoral committee members are: Dr. Joe Wittmer (Chairman), Dr. Cecil Mercer, Dr. Janet Larsen, and Dr. Max Parker from the University of Florida. Further information regarding this study can be obtained through the UFIRB Office, PO Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl. 32611-2250. I sincerely thank-you for your consideration and support. I have enclosed copies of the invitation/consent letters to principals, teachers, and mothers. Sincerely, Maria I. (Maritza) Circles of Care, Inc. 424 4" Ave. Indialantic, FL 32903 676-6680, 676-6688 Gallardo-Cooper, MA. LMFT, LSP, Researcher

PAGE 185

175 Home-School Meeting Study Dear 1 am conducting a study on the effects of different approaches to home-school meetings with mothers and teachers who have children with behavioral problems. Dr. Scheuerer Deputy Superintendent, has given me approval to conduct my investigation at the Brevard County Schools. 1 would like to know if you would allow your school to participate. The home-school meeting in this investigation is conceptualized as a tool for collaboration between mother and teacher. A selected group of Circles of Care professionals will conduct the meetings with mothers of children who currently receive school-based mental health services. These mothers have volunteered to participate in the study and have signed consent forms. There will be no cost to your school other than the teacher's time to attend a home-school meeting. The study's design will require: 1 A brief meeting between teacher and mental health professional one to two weeks prior to the home-school meeting to gather pre-test data on two short questionnaires. 2 . A 30 minute home-school meeting in which a mother, a teacher, and the mental health professional will meet at your school. Immediately after the meeting both mothers and teachers will need to complete post-test measures. This will require a secluded area where both mothers and teachers could complete these questionnaires. 3 . Teachers will only participate in one home-school meeting. This research is being conducted through the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Joe Wittmer, Dr. Cecil Mercer, Dr. Janet Larsen, and Dr. Max Parker. Circles of Care, inc. will be providing the professional staff for the study. In addition, the researcher is under direct supervision of Dr. Barry Hensel, Circle of Care's Clinical Director. Upon completion of the investigation, 1 will be happy to share with you and your staff the results of the study. I will also be willing to provide your staff with training on collaborative methods with parents. 1 am enclosing, for your review, a copy of the teachers' consent forms. if you have any questions you can contact me at 676-6688 or 676-6680. You can reach me at Circles of Care, Inc., 424 4*^ Ave., Indialantic, FL 32903. Also, if you wish to contact the University of Florida regarding this study you can do so at: UFRIB Office, PO Box 1 12250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 3261 1-2250. Thank you for your cooperation and support. Sincerely, Maria I. G. Cooper (Maritza), LMFT, LSP, Researcher

PAGE 186

APPENDIX H MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS PROCEDURES A. Outline of Responsibilities 1 . Participate in 20 hours of training/supervision 2. Pass the treatment model quiz after the 4"^ and 5"" training session. 3. Meet with each mother and teacher a week before the scheduled home-school meeting. 4. Conduct 5 home-school meetings. B. Preliminary Procedures 1 . Upon receiving the names assigned to your home-school meeting group, you will need to call them as soon as possible to schedule: a) Schedule a 30 minute home-school meeting with the mother and teacher. Remind them that they will need to stay for approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete post-test measures. C. Home-School Meeting 1 . All H-S meetings will be conducted at the teacher's school. 2. Be on time for the meeting and carry a watch and all materials necessary to conduct the interview (i.e. structured interview, board, pen, etc.). 2. Keep notes on the participants responses. Abbreviated notes are acceptable. 3. Mothers and teachers are volunteers. If by any chance either one is upset and wants to discontinue the meeting, you can terminate the meeting. As a professional, provide any intervention necessary to address the participant's discomfort. 4. Make sure you provide the mother and teacher with any notes with information from the meeting that could be of assistance to them. 5. When you complete the interview, please give the mother and teacher the manila envelope with the post-measures. Make sure the parent has a comfortable, quiet place. 6. Inform the Circles of Care staflF stationed at that school that you completed the meeting. They will pick up the sealed envelopes with the post-measures from parent and teacher. The Circles of Care staff, also will be available to parents if they need help with reading or comprehending the post-measure items. THANKYOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION. 176

PAGE 187

APPENDIX I INSTRUCTIONS TO PARTICIPANTS : INSTRUCTIONS 1 . Please complete the forms in this envelope. 2. Answer all questions the best you can. 3. If you have any questions with any of the forms, feel free to ask the Circles of Care staff. They will gladly help you. 4. When you fmish, please place all forms in the big envelope enclosed in this package. 5. Please make sure you seal it. All your answers will be kept confidential. Thank-you very much for your participation. Maritza Cooper, Researcher If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at 676-6688. 177

PAGE 188

REFERENCES Achenbach, T. M.. & Edelbrock, C. S. (1983). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist and Revised Child Behavior Profile. Burlington, VT: University Associates in Psychiatry. Adams, J. F., Pierce, F. P., & Jurich, J. A. (1991). Effects of solution focused therapy's "formula first session task" on compUance and outcome in family therapy. Journal of Marital and Familv Therapv. 17 . 277-290. Adelman, H. S. (1993). School-linked mental health interventions: Toward mechanisms for service coordination and integration. .Toumal of Co mmunity Psvchology, 21, 309-317. Adelman, H. S., & Taylor, L. (1993). School-based mental health: Toward a comprehensive approach. Journal of Mental Health Administration. 20. 32-45. Allison, J. E. (1994). A descriptive studv of problem-oriente d parent-teacher conferences [CD-ROM]. Abstract fi-om: ProQuest File: Dissertation Abstracts Item: 9519524 American Psychological Association (1993). Delivery of comprehensive scho ol psychological services: An educator's guide. Report by the Task Force on Psychology in the Schools. Washington, DC: Author. American Psychological Association (1994). Comprehens ive and coordinated psychological services for children: A call for servic e integration. Report by the Task Force of Comprehensive and Coordinated Psychological Services for Children: Ages 0-10. Washington, DC: Author. Anderson, C. (1983). An ecological developmental model for a family orientation in school psychology. Journal of School Psvchology. 24 . 179-189. Apter, D. (1992). Utilization of community resources: an important variable for the home' school interface. In Christenson, S. L. & Conoley, J. C. (Eds.), Home-school coUaboration (pp. 487-498). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Arnold, K. D., Michael, M. G., Hosley, C. A., & Miller, S. (1994). Factors influencing attitudes about family-school communication for parents of children with mild learning problems: Preliminary findings. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 5 . 257-267. 178

PAGE 189

179 Auten, A. (1985). EflFective parent-teacher conferences. The Reading Teacher. 35 . 358-361. Aveline, M. (1995). Assessing the value of brief intervention at the time of assessment for dynamic psychotherapy. In Aveline, M. & Shapiro, D. A. (Eds.), Research foundations for psvchotherapv practice (pp. 129-149). Chichester, MA: Wiley. Barkley, R. A. (1990). Attention deficit hvperactivitv disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment. New York: Guilford. Bear, G. G. (1990). Best practices in school discipline. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psycho logy-II . (pp. 649-664). Washington, DC: NASP. Berg, I. K. (1994). Family based services: A solution-focused approach. New York: Norton. Berg, I. K., &. de Shazer, S. (1993). Making numbers talk: Language in therapy. In S. Friedman (Ed.), The new language of change: Constructive collaboration in psychotherapy (pp. 5-24). New York: Guilford. Berg, I. K., & Miller, S. D. (1992). Working with the problem drinker: A solution-focused a pproach. New York: Norton. Bergan, J. R. (1977). Behavioral consultation. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill. Bergan, J. R. (1995). Evolution of the problem-solving model of consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 6 . 111-123. Beyebach, M., Rodrigues-Morejon, A., Palenzuela, D. L., & Rodriguez-Arias, J. L. (1996). Research on the process of solution-focused therapy. In S. D. Miller, Ruble, M. A. & B. L. Duncan (Eds.), Handbook of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (pp. 299-334). San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers. Billings, A., & Moss, R. (1985). Comparisons of children of depressed and nondepressed parents: A social-environmental perspective. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 11. 483-486. Bjorklund, G., & Burger, C. (1987). Making conferences work for parents, teachers, and children. Young Children. 42. 26-3 1 . Boggs, S. R., Eyberg. S., & Reynolds, L. A. (1990). Concurrent validity of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. 19. 75-78. i

PAGE 190

180 Bonnington, S. B. (1993). Solution-focused brief therapy: Helpful interventions for school counselors. The School Counselor. 41. 126-129. Brofenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: E xperiments bv nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Brofenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psvchologv. 22 , 723-742. Brown, D., Prywansky, W. B., & Schulte, A. C. (1987). Psychological consultation: Introduction to theory and practice. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Budd, K. S., &. Holdsworth, M. J. (1996). Issues in clinical assessment of minimal parenting competence. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. 25 . 2-14. Budman, S. H., Friedman, S., & Hoyt, M. F. (1992). Last words on first sessions. In S. H. Budman, M. F. Hoyt, & S. Friedman. (Eds.), The first session in brief therapy (pp. 345-358). New York: Guilford. Budman, S. H., & Gurman, A. S. (1988). Theory and practice of brief psychotherapy. New York: Guilford. Budman, S. H., Hoyt, M. F., & Friedman, S. (1992). First words on first sessions. In S. H. Budman, M. F. Hoyt, 8c S. Friedman. (Eds.), The first session in brief therapy (pp. 3-6). New York: Guilford. Carlson, C. (1992). Models and strategies of family-school assessment and intervention. In M. J. Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of family-school intervention: A systems perspective (pp. 1 8-44). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Carlson, C, & Hickman, J. (1992). Family consultation in schools in special services. Special Services in the Schools. 6 . 83-1 12. Carlson, C. I., Hickman, J., & Horton, C. B. (1992). From blame to solutions: Solutionoriented family school consultation. In S. L. & Christenson & J. C. Conoley, (Eds.), Home-school collaboration (pp. 193-214). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Carlson, C. I., Paavola, J., & Talley, R. (1995). Historical, current, and fiiture models of schools as health care delivery settings. School Psychology Quarterly. 10 . 1 84202. Chandler, M. C, & Mason, W. H. (1995). Solutionfocused therapy: An alternative approach to addictions nursing. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. 3 1 . 8-13.

PAGE 191

181 Chrispeels, J. (1988). Building collaboration through parent-teacher conferencing. Educational Horizons. 66 . 84-86. Christenson, S. L. (1995a). Supporting home-school collaboration. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology III (pp. 253-267). Washington, DC: NASP. Christenson, S. L. (1995b). Families and schools: What is the role of the school psychologist? School Psychology Quarterly. 10 . 118-132. Christenson, S. L. (1997). A report from the school-family committee: Support for family involvement in education. The School Psychologist. 51 . 20-22. Christenson, S., & Cleary, M. (1990). Consultation and the parent-educator partnership: A perspective. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 1, 2 1 9-24 1 . Christenson, S., & Conoley, J. C. (Eds.). (1992). Home-school collaboration. Silver Springs, MA: NASP. Christenson, S. L., Rounds, T., & Franklin, M. J. (1992). Home-school collaboration: Effects, issues, and opportimities. In Christenson, S. L. & Conoley, J. C. (Eds.), Home-school collaboration (pp. 19-52). Silver Springs, MA: NASP. Cochran, M., & Dean, C. (1991). Home-school relations and the empowerment process. The Elementary School Journal, 91 , 261-269. Colapinto, J. (1988). Avoiding a common pitfall in compulsory school referrals. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 14 . 89-96. Colbert, R. D. (1991). Untapped resource: African American parental perceptions. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 26 . 96-105. Collins, B., & Collins, T. (1990). Parent -professional relationship in the treatment of seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. Social Work. 35. 522527. Conoley, J. C. (1989). Cognitive-behavioral approaches and prevention in the schools. In J. N. Hughes & R. J. Hall (Eds.), Cognitive behavioral psychology in the schools (pp. 535-568). New York: Guilford. Conoley, J. C. (1987). Families and schools: Theoretical and practical bridges. Professional School Psychology. 2 . 191-203.

PAGE 192

182 Cooper, R. J. (1977). Simformation 6: Planning, conducting , and evaluating parentteacher conferences (Report No. NE C. 00-3-0065). Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 208 466) Crespi, T. D., & Fischetti, B. A. (1996). Marriage and family therapy in the schools: Expanding the parameters of practice. Communique , 25 (1), 6-7. Cross Calvert, S., & Johnston, C. (1990). Acceptability of treatments for child behavior problems: Issues and implications for future research. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19. 61-74. Cummings, A. L., Slemon, A. G., & Hallberg, E. T. (1993). Session evaluation and recall of important events as a function of counselor experience. Journal of Coimseling Psychology. 40. 156-165. Cutrona, C. E., & Troutman, B. (1986). Social support, infant temperament, and parentii^ self-efiScacy: A mediational model of postpartum depression. Child Development. 57 , 1507-1518. Davies, D. (1988). Low income parents and the schools: A research report and plan of action. Equity and Choice, 4 , 51-59. Davis, D. (1995). Commentary: Collaboration and family empowerment as strategies to achieve comprehensive services. In L. C. Rigsby, M. C. Reynolds, & M. C. Wang (Eds.), School-community connections: Exploring issues for research and practice (pp. 267-280). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. De Jong, P., & Hopwood, L. E. (1996). Outcome research on treatment conducted at the Brief Family Therapy Center, 1992-1993. In S. D. Miller, M. A. Hubble, & B. L. Duncan (Eds.), Handbook of solution-focused brief therapy (pp.272-298). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. De Jong P., & Miller. S.D. (1995). How to interview for client strengths. Social Work. 40, 729-736. Delgado-Gaitan, C. (1991). Involving parents in the schools: A process of empowerment. American Journal of Education, 100 . 20-40. de Shazer, S. (1982). Patterns of brief family therapy: An ecosystemic approach. New York: Guilford. de Shazer, S. (1984). The death of resistance. Family Process. 23 . 1 1-17. de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: Guilford.

PAGE 193

183 de Shazer, S. (1988). Clues: Investipation solutio ns in brief therapy. New York: Norton. Doherty, W. J., & Peskay, V. D. (1992). FamUy systems and the school. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration (pp. 1-18). Silver-Springs, MD.: NASP. Doll, B. (1996). Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children and youth: An agenda for advocacy by school psychology. School Psvch olopv Ouarterlv. 11, 20-47. Dombusch, S. M., & Ritter, P. L. (1988). Parents of high school students: A neglected source. Educational Horizons, 66 , 75-77. Downing, J., & Harrison, T. (1992). Solutions and school counseling. The School Counselor. 39 , 327-333. Dumas, J. E., & Walher, R. G., (1983). Predictors of treatment outcome in parent training: Mother insularity and socioeconomic disadvantage. Behavioral Assessment, 5 , 301-303. Duncan, L. W., & Fitzgerald, P. W. (1969). Increasing the parent-child communication through counselor-parent conferences. Personnel an d Guidance Journal, 47, 514-517. Dunst, C. J., Johanson. C, Rounds, T., Trivette, C. M., & Hamby, D. (1992). Characteristics of parent-professional partnerships. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley, J. C. (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhancin g the academic and social competence of children (pp. 1 571 74). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Dunst, C. J., & Paget, K. D. (1991). Parent-professional partnerships and family empowerment. In M. J. Fine (Ed.), Collaboration with parent s of exceptional children (pp. 25-44). Brandon, Vermont: CPPC. Dunst, C. J., & Trivette, C. M. (1987). Enabling and empowering families: Conceptual and intervention issues. School Psvcholoev Review . 16, 443-456. Dunst, C. J., Trivette, C. M., & Deal, A. G. (1988). Enabling and empowering families. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. Dunst, C. J., Trivette, C. M., Gordon, N. J., & Stames, A. L. (1993). Family centered case management practices: Characteristics and consequences. In G. H. S. Singer & L. E. Powers (Eds.), Families, disabilitv and empowerment: Active coping skills and strategies for familv intervention (pp. 89-118). Baltimore: Brookes.

PAGE 194

184 Dunst, C. J., Trivette, C. M., & Hamby, D. W. (1996). Measuring the helpgiving practices of human services program practitioners. Human Relations. 49, 815-835. D'Zurilla, T. J. (1986). Problem-solving therapy: A social com petence approach to clinical intervention. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Eccles, J. S., Harold, R. D. (1993). Parent-school involvement during the early adolescent years. Teachers College Record. 94 . 568-587. Elksnin, L. K., & Elksnin, N. (1989). Collaborative consultation: Improving parentteacher communication. Academic Therapv. 24 . 261-269. Ellenburg, F. C, & Lanier, N. J. (1984). Interacting effectively with parents. Childhood Education . 60.315-318. Elliott R. (1995). Therapy process research and clinical practice: Practical strategies. In M. Aveline & D. A. Shapiro (Eds.), Research foundations for psvchotherapv practice (pp. 49-72). Chichester, MA: Wiley. Elliott, R., & James, E. (1989). Varieties of client experience in psychotherapy: An analysis of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review. 9. 443-467. Elliott, R., & Wexler, R. R. (1994). Measuring the impact of treatment sessions: The Session Impact Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 41. 149-166-174. Epanchin, B. C, & Owen, M. (1982, April). Facilitating multi-disciplinarv conferences: Requisite skills. Paper presented at the Annual International Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children. Houston, Texas. Epstein, J. L. (1988). How do we improve programs for parent involvement? Educational Horizons. 66 . 53-54. Epstein, J. L., & Dauber, S. L. (1991). School programs and teacher practices of parent involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. Elementary School Journal. 91. 289-306. Erchul, W. P., & Chewing, T. G. (1990). Behavioral consultation from a request-centered relational communication perspective. School Psychology Quarterly. 5. 1-20. Erchul, W. P., Hughes, J. N., Meyers, J., Hickman, J. A., & Braden, J. P. (1992). Dyadic agreement concerning the consultation process and its relationship to outcome. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 3 . 119-132.

PAGE 195

185 Evans, I. M., Okifuji, A., Engler, L., Bromley, K., & Tishelman A. (1993). Home-school communication in the treatment of childhood behavior problems. Child & Family Behavior Therapv. 15 , 37-59. Evans, I. M., Okifiiji, A., & Thomas, A. D. (1995). Home-school partnerships: Involving families in the educational process. In L. H. Meyer & Utley, C. A. (Series Eds.) I. M. Evans, T. Cicchelli, M. Cohen, & N. P. Shapiro (Vol. Eds.) Children, vouth. & change: Sociocultural perspectives. Staying in school: Partnerships for educational change (pp. 23-40). Baltimore, MA: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co. Evans, E. D., & Tribble, M. (1986). Perceived teaching problems, self-eflScacy, and commitment to teaching among preservice teachers. Journal of Educational Research. 80 . 81-85. Eyberg, S. (1992). Parent and teacher behavior inventories for the assessment of conduct problem behaviors in children. Innovations in clinical practice: A source book. 11. 261-270. Eyberg, S., & Boggs, S. (1989). Parent training for oppositional preschoolers. In C. E. SchaeflFer & J. M. Briesmeister (Eds.), Handbook of parent training: Parents as co-therapists for children's behavior problems, (pp. 105-132). New York: Wiley. Eyberg, S., &. Robinson, E. A., (1983). Conduct problem behavior: Standarization of a behavioral rating scale with adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child Psvchology, 11 , 347-354. Eyberg, S., & Ross, A. W. (1978). Assessment of child behavior problems: The validation of a new inventory. Journal of Clinical Child Psychologv, 7 . 113-116. Fine, M. J. (1990). Facilitating home-school relationships: A family-oriented approach to collaborative consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 1, 169-187. Fine, M. J. (1992). A systems-ecological perspective on home-school intervention. In M. J. Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of family-school intervention: A systems perspective (pp. 1-17). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Fine. M. J., & Carlson, C. (Eds.). (1992). Handbook of family-school intervention: A svstems perspective. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Fine, M. J., «& Gardner, A. (1994). Collaborative consultation with families of children with special needs: Why bother? Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 4. 283-308.

PAGE 196

186 Fish, M. C. (1990). Best practices in family-school relationships. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychologyII (pp. 371-381). Washington, DC: NASP. Friedman, S., & Fanger, M. T. (1991). Ex panding the rapeutic possihilities: Getting results in brief psychotherapy. New York: Lexington Books/Macmillan. Friend, M., & Cook, L. (1992). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals. New York: Longman. Fuller, F., & Hill, C. E. (1985). Counselor and helpee perceptions of counselor intentions in relation to outcome in a single counseling session. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 32 , 329-338. Funderberk, B. W., &. Eyberg, S. (1989). Psychometric characteristics of the SutterEyberg Student Behavior Inventory: A school behavior rating scale for use with preschool children. Behavioral Assessment. 1 1 , 297-313. Gaines, T., & Stedman. J. (1981). Factors associated with dropping out of child and family treatment. American Journal of Family Therapy, 9, 45-5 1 . Galinsky, E. (1988). Parents and teachers-caregivers: Sources of tension, sources of support. Young Children, 43 . 4-12. Galloway, J., &, Sheridan, S. M. (1994). Implementing scientific practices through case studies: Examples using home-school interventions and consultation. Journal of School Psychology. 32 . 385-413. Gartner, A. (1988). Parents, no longer excluded, just ignored: Some ways to do it nicely. Exceptional Parent. 1 8 . 40-4 1 . Gelfer, J. I. (1991). Teacher-parent partnerships: Enhancing communications. Childhood Education, 67 . 164-167. Gelfer, J. I., & Perkins, P. G. (1987). Effective communication with parents: A process for parent/teacher conferences. Childhood Education, 63 , 19-22. Giangreco, M. F. (1993). Using creative problem-solving methods to include students with severe disabilities in general education classroom activities. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 4, 113-135. Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. (1984). Teacher eflBcacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76 , 569-582.

PAGE 197

187 Gingerich, W. J., de Shazer, S., & Weiner-Davis, M. (1988). Constructing change: A research view of interviewing. In J. C. Hansen (Series Ed.) & E. Lipchick (Vol. Ed.), The family therapy collections: Interviewing (pp. 21-48). Rockville, MD: Aspen. Goldstein, J. E., & Tumball, A. P. (1982). Strategies to increase parent participation in lEP conference. Exceptional Children , 48, 360-361. Greenberg, L. S. (1986). Research strategies. In L. S. Greenberg & W. M. Pinsof (Eds.), The psychotherapeutic process: A research handbook (pp. 707-734). New York: Guilford. Greenberg, L. S., & Pinsof, W. M. (1986). Process research: Current trends and future perspectives. In L. S. Greenberg & W. M. PinsoflF (Eds.), The psychotherapeutic process: A research handbook (pp. 3-20). New York: Guilford. Greenwood, G. E., & Hickman, C. W. (1991). Research and practice in parent involvement: Implications for teacher education. The Elementary School Journal 279-288. Gresham, F. M., & Cohen, S. (1993). Treatment integrity of school-based behavioral intervention studies: 1980-1990. School Psychology Review. 22 . 254-272. Gutkin, T. B. (1995). School Psychology and health care: Moving service delivery into the twenty-first century. School Psychology Quarterly, 10 . 236-246. Hamachek, A. L., & Romano, L. G. (1984). Focus on parent-teacher conferences. (Report No. ISBN-0-9 18449-00-6). East Lansing, MI: Michigan Association of Middle School Educators. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 265 131) Harry, B. (1992). An ethnographic study of cross-cultural communication with Puerto RicanAmerican families in the special education system. American Educational Research Journal. 29, 47 1 -494. Harvey, V. S. (1995). Interagency collaboration: Providing a system of care for students. Special Services in the Schools, 10, 165-181. Haskett, M. E., Nowlan, N. P., Hutcheson, J. S., & Whitworth, J. M. (1991). Factors associated with successful entry into therapy in child sexual abuse cases. Child Abuse and Neglect, 15. 467-476. Hay, W. M., Hay, L. R., Angle, H. V., & Nelson, R. O. (1979). The reliability of problem identification in the behavioral interview. Behavioral Assessment, 1 . 107-1 18.

PAGE 198

188 Hayes, B., & Hesketh, B. (1989). Attribution theory, judgmental biases, and cognitive behavior modification. Cognitive Theory and Pr actice. 13. 21 1-230. Henderson, M. V., & Hunt, S., ife Day, R. (1994). A model for developing pre-service parent-teacher conferencing skills. Journal of Instructional Psvcholoev. 21. 31-35. Hill, C. E., Helms, J. E., Tichenor, V., Spiegel, S. B., O'Grady, K. E., & Perry, E. S. (1988). Effects of therapist response modes in brief psychotherapy. Journal of Counseling Psvcholoev. 35, 222-233. Hoberman, H. M. (1992). Ethnic minority status and adolescent mental health services utilization. The Journal of Mental Health Utilization. 19. 246-263. Hock, H., Schirtzinger, M. B., & Lutz, W. (1992). Dimensions of family relationships associated with depressive symptomatology in mothers and young children. Psvcholoev of Women Quarterly. 16 . 229-241. Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Bassler, O. C, & Brissie, J. S. (1992). Journal of Educational Research. 85. 287-294. Horvath, A. O., &. Marx, R. W. (1990). The development and decay of the working alliance during time-limited counseling. Canadian Journal of Counseling. 24 . 240-259. Howard. K. I., Orlinsky, D. E., & Lueger, R. J. (1995). The design of clinically relevant outcome research: Some consideration and an example. In M. Aveline & D. A. Shapiro (Eds.), Research foundations for psychotherapy practice (pp. 3-47). Chichester, MA: Wiley. Howie, F., & Simmons, B.J. (1993). Nurturine the parent-teacher alliance: A euide to formine a facilitative relationship (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 358 086) Hoyt, M. F., Budman, S. H., & Friedman, S. (1992). Introduction to individual brief therapy approaches. In S. H. Budman, M. F. Hoyt, & S. Friedman (Eds.), The first session in brief therapy (pp. 9-13). New York: Guilford. Huebner, E. S., & Hahn, B. M. (1990). Best practices in coordinating multidisciplinary teams. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psvcholoev-II. (pp. 235-274). Washington, DC: NASP. Hughes, J. (1987). Cognitive-behavioral treatment with children . New York: Guilford. Idol, L., Nevin, A., & PaolucciWhit comb, P. (1994). Collaborative consultation . Austin. TX: Pro-Ed.

PAGE 199

189 Jacobson, N. S. (1984). A component analysis of behavioral marital therapy: The relative effectiveness of behavior change and commiinication/problem-solving training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psvcholoev. 52 , 295-305. Javanthi, M., & Friend, M. (1992). Interpersonal problem-solving: A selective literature review to guide practice. Journal of Educational and Psvchol ogical Consultation, 1,39-53. Johns, K. M. (1992). Lowering beginning teacher anxiety about parent-teacher conferences through role playing. School Counselor. 40 . 146-152. Johnston, C, & Mash, E. J. (1989). A measure of parenting satisfaction and efficacy. Journal ofClinical Child Psvcholoev, 18 , 167-175. Johnston, J. C, & Zemitzch, A. (1988). Family power: An intervention beyond the classroom. Behavioral Disorders, 14 , 68-79. Jordan, K., & Quinn, W. H. (1994). Session two outcome of the formula first session task in problemand solution-focused approaches. The American Journal of Family Therapv. 22 , 3-16. Kaiser, S. M., & Woodman, R. W. (1985). MuUidisciplinary teams and group decisionmaking techniques: Possible solutions to decision-making problems. School Psvchologv Review, 14, 457-470. Kalyanpur, M., & Rao, S. S. (1991). Empowering low-income black families of handicapped children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61, 523-532. Kazdin, A. E. (1980). Acceptability of akemative treatments for deviant child behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13, 259-273. Kazdin, A. E. (1992). Healthy thinking. Behavior Therapy, 23 . 1-11. Kazdin, A. E. (1993). Evaluation in clinical practice: Clinically sensitive and systemic methods in treatment delivery. Behavior Therapy. 24. 1 1-45. Kazdin , A. E., Siegel, T. C, & Bass, D. (1992). Cognitive problem-solving skills training and parent management training in the treatment of antisocial behavior in children. Journal of Consuhing and Clinical Psychology. 60 . 733-747. Kelley, M. L. (1990). School-home notes: Promoting children's classroom success. New York: Guilford. Kiser, D. J., Piercy, F. P., & Lipchick, E. (1993). The integration of emotion in solution-focused therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapv. 19 , 233-242.

PAGE 200

190 Krai. R. (1992). Solution-focused brief therapy: applications in the schools. In M. J. Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of family-school interventi on: A systems perspective (pp. 330-346). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Kramer, D. A. (1989). A developmental framework for understanding conflict resolution. In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.), Everyday problem solving: Theory and applications (pp. 133-152). New York: Praeger. Kratochwill, T. R., & Bergan, J. R. (1990). Behavioral consultation in applied settings. New York: Plenum Press. Krehbiel, R., & Kroth, R. L. (1991). Communicating with families of children with disabilities or chronic illness. In M. J. Fine (Ed.), Collaboration with parents of exceptional children, (pp. 103-127). Brandon, VT: CPPC. Laing, R. D., Phillpson, H., & Lee, A. R. (1966). Interpersonal perception: A theory and a method of research. New York: Springer. Lambert, M. J., & Bergin, A. E. (1994). The effectiveness of psychotherapy. In A. E. Bergin & Garfield, S. L. (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change . New York: Wiley. Landis, J. A. (1992). Consultation practice in the school: A study comparing the effects of behavioral and solution focused questions during consultation with teachers (behavioral-focused, solution-focused, problem-behavior). Dissertation Abstracts International. 54, 869. La Roche, M. J., Turner, C, & Kalick, S. M. (1995). Latina mothers and their toddler's behavioral difficulties. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 17 , 375-384. Lawler, S.D. (1991). Parent-teacher conferencing in early childhood education. National Education Association Early Childhood Education Series . Washington, DC: National Education Association. Lee, C, & Bobko, P. (1994). Self-efficacy beliefs: Comparison of five measures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 364-369. Leitch, M. L. &, Tangri, S. S. (1988). Barriers to home-school collaboration. Educational Horizons, 66 , 70-74. Levy, T. (1992). Planning for more effective parent teacher conferences. Middle School Journal. 24 . 49-51.

PAGE 201

191 1 Lipchick, E. (1988). Purposeful sequences for beginning the solution-focused interview. In J. C. Hensen (Series Ed.) & E. Lipchick (Vol. Ed.), The family therapy collections (pp. 105-117). Rockville, MD: Aspen. Lipchick, E. (1993). "Both/And" solutions. In S. Friedman (Ed.), The new language of change: Constructive collaboration in psychotherapy, (pp. 25-49). New York: Guilford. Little, A. W. N., & Allan, J. (1989). Student-led parent-teacher conferences. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling. 23 . 210-218. Littrell, J. M., Malia, J. A., & Vanderwood, M. (1995). Single session brief counseling in a high school. Journal of Counseling and Development. 73 , 451-458. Lombana, J. H., & Lombana, A. E. (1982). The home-school partnership: A model for counselors. Personnel and Guidance Journal. 61 . 35-39. Lotz, M., & Suhorsky, J. (1989). Parents' and teachers' attitudes toward progress reporting conferences . Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association in Savannah, Georgia. Lowenbraun, S., Madge, S., & Afileck, J. (1990). Parental satisfaction with integrated class placements of special education and general education students. Remedial and Special Education. 1 1 . 37-40. Lucyshyn, J. P., & Albin, R. W. (1993). Comprehensive support to families of children with disabilities and behavior problems: Keeping it "friendly." In G. H. S. Singer & L. E. Powers (Eds.), Families, disability and empowerment: Active coping skills and strategies for family interventions (pp. 365-408). Baltimore: Brookes. Lusterman, D. D. (1985). An ecosystemic approach to family-school problems. American Journal of Family Therapy. 13 . 22-30. Lusterman, D. D. (1992). Ecosystemic treatment of family-school problems: A private practice perspective. In M. J. Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of familyschool intervention: A systems perspective (pp. 363-373). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Luszcz, M. A. (1989). Theoretical models of everyday problem solving in adulthood. In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.), Everyday problem solving: Theory and applications (pp. 2439). New York: Praeger. MacMillan, D. L., & Tumball, A. P. (1983). Parent involvement with special education: Respecting individual differences. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded. 18 . 4-9.

PAGE 202

192 Mallinckrodt, B. (1993). Session impact, working alliance, and treatment outcome on brief counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 40 , 25-32. Margolis, H. (1991). Listening: The key to problem solving with angry parents. School Psychology International 12, 329-347. Margolis, H., & Brannigan, G. G. (1990). Strategies for resolving parent-teacher conflict. Reading. Writing, and Learning Disabilities. 6. 1-23. Masterpasqua, F. (1989). A competence paradigm for psychological practice. American Psychologist. 44 . 1366-1371. McCamey, S. B. (1986). Preferred types of communication indicated by parents and teachers of emotionally disturbed students. Behavioral Disorders. 1 1 . 1 18-123. McClam, T., & Woodside, M. (1994). Problem-solving in the helping professions. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. McGrew, K. S. & Gilman, C. J. (1991). Measuring the perceived degree of parent empowerment in home-school relationships through a home-school survey. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. 9 . 353-362. McKeel, A. J. (1996). A clinician's guide to research on solution-focused therapy. In S. D. Miller, M. A. Hubble, & B. L. Duncan (Eds.), Handbook of solution-focused brief therapy (pp. 251-271). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. McMahon, R. J. & Forehand, R. L. (1983). Consumer satisfaction in behavioral treatment of children: Types, issues, and recommendations. Behavior Therapy. 14 . 209-225. McWhirter, E. H. (1991). Empowerment in counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development. 69 . 222-227. Meacham, J. A., & Emont, N. C. (1989). The interpersonal basis of everyday problem solving. In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.), Everyday problem solving: Theory and applications (pp. 7-23). New York: Praeger. Meichenbaum, D., & Turk, D. C. (1987). Facilitating treatment adherence: A practitioner's handbook. New York: Plenum. Merril, M. A., Clark, R. J., Varvil, C. D., Van Sickle, C. A., & McCall, L. J. (1992). Family therapy in the schools: The pragmatics of merging systemic approaches into educational settings. In M. J. Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of family-school intervention: A systems perspective (pp. 400-41 1). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

PAGE 203

193 Minuchin, S., & Fishman, H. C. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Modrcin, M. J., & Robinson, J. (1991). Parents of children with emotional disorders: Issues for consideration and practice. Community Mental Health Journal, 27, 281-292. Molnar, A., «& de Shazer, S. (1987). Solution-focused therapy: Identification of therapeutic tasks. Journal of Marital and Fa milv Therapy. 13. 349-358. Morgan, E. L. (1989). Talking with parents when concerns come up. Young Children, 44, 52-56. Muneno, R., 8c Dembo, M. H. (1982). Causal attributions for school performance: Effect of teachers' conceptual complexity. Personality a nd Social Psychology BuUetin, 8 . 201-207. Munn, P. (1985). Accountability and parent-teacher communication. British Educational Research Journal. 1 1 , 105-111. Murphy, J. J. (1996). Solution-focused brief therapy in the schools. In S. D. MiUer, M. A. Hubble, & B. L. Duncan (Eds.), Handbook of solution-foc used brief therapy (pp. 184-204). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Murphy, J. J., & Duncan, B. L. (in press). Practical solutions to school problems: A brief intervention. New York: Guilford. Myreck, R. D. (1987). Developmental guidance and counseling: A practical approach . Minneapolis. MN: Educational Media Corporation. NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) (1990). Research on child and adolescent in mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders: Mobilizin g a nation al initiative. Washington, DC: Author. Nicoll, W. G. (1992). A family counseling and consultation model for school counselors. The School Counselor. 39 . 351-361. Noh, S., Dumas, J. E., Wolf, L. C, & Fisman, S. N. (1989). Delineating sources of stress in parents of exceptional children. Family Relations. 38 , 456-461. O'Hanlon, W. H., & Weiner-Davis, M. (1989). In search of solutions: A new direction in psychotherapy. New York: Norton.

PAGE 204

194 Paget, K. D. (1992). Proactive family-school partnerships in early intervention. In M. J. ' Fine & C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of familv-school intervention: A systems perspective (pp. 1 19-133). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Paget, K. D., & Chapman, S. D. (1992). Home-school partnerships and preschool services: From self-assessment to innovation. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhanci n g children' s academic and social competence , (pp.265-288). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Plas, J. M. (1986). Svstems psvcholoev in the schools. New York: Pergamon, Press. Plas, J. M. (1992). The development of systems thinking: A historical perspective. In M. J. Fine «& C. Carlson (Eds.), Handbook of familv-scho ol intervention: A svstems perspective (pp. 45-56). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Powell, D. R. (1978). Correlates of parent-teacher communication frequency and diversity. Journal of Educational Research, 71 , 333-341. Power, T. J. (1985). Perceptions of competence: How parents and teachers view each other. Psvcholoev in the Schools, 22 , 68-78. Power, T. J., & Bartholomew, K. L. (1987a). Family-school relationship patterns: an ecological assessment. School Psvchologv Review, 16 , 498-512. Power, T. J., & Bartholomew, K. L. (1987b). Breaking the dysfunctional home-school helping pattern: Systemic intervention through nonclassification. Techniques, 3 , 219-229. Powers, M. D. (1991). Intervening with families of young children with severe handicaps: Contributions of a family systems approach. School Psychology Quarterly, 6 , 131-146. Ramsey, E., & Hill, W. (1988). Family management correlates of antisocial behavior among middle school boys. Behavioral Disorders, 13 , 187-201. Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory of community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology. 15. 121-145. Reimers, T. M., Wacjer, D. F., & Koeppl, G. (1987). Acceptability of behavioral interventions: A review of the literature. School Psychology Review. 16 , 212-227. Reis, E. M. (1988). Conferencing skills: Working with parents. Clearing House, 62 . 81-83.

PAGE 205

195 Riepe, L. D. (1990). For the benefit of aU: Planning and conducting effective parent conferences. Child Care Information E xchange, 74, 47-49. Robin, A. L., & Foster, S. L. (1989). Ne gotiating parent-adolescent c onflict: A hehavioral-familv systems approach . New York: Guilford. Rohwer, K. A. (1991). A study of parent-teacher communications (conferences). Dissertation Abstract International. 52 . 4222. Ron, K., Rosenberg, R., Melnick, T., & Pesses, D. (1990). Family therapy alone is not enough: or The dirty story of Dorian. Contempora ry Family Therapy an IntemationalJoumal 12 , 35-48. Rosenbaum, R. (1990). Strategic psychotherapy. In R. A. WeUs & V. J. Giannetti (Eds.), Handbook of the brief psvchotherapies (pp. 351-403). New York: Guilford. Rotter, J. C, Robinson, H. H., & Fey, M. A. (1987). Parent-teacher conferencing . Washington, DC: NEA. Rotto, P. C, & Kratochwill, T. R. (1994). Behayioral consultation with parents: Using competency-based training to modify non-compliance. School Psyc hology Review. 23, 669-693. Scott, M. (1989). A cognitive-behavioural approach to client's problems. New York: Guilford. Schwartz, S., & Johnson, J. H. (1985). Psvchopathology of childhood: An experimental a pproach. New York: Pergamon Press. Seabaugh, G. O., & Schumaker, J. B. (1981). Effects of three conferencing procedures on the academic productivity of LD and NLD adolescents (Report IRLD-RR-36). Lawrence, KS: Kansas University, Institute for Research in Learning Disabilities. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EC 142 732) Seefeldt, C. (1985). Parent involvement support of stress. Childhood Education. 62. 98-102. Segal, S. P., Silverman, C, & Temkin, T. (1995). Measuring empowerment in client-run self-help agencies. Community Mental Health Journal. 31 . 215-227. Selekman, M. D. (1993a). Pathways to change: Brief therapy solutions with difficult adolescents. New York: Guilford. Seligman, M., & Darling, R. B. (1989). Ordinary families, special children: A systems a pproach to childhood disability. New York: Guilford.

PAGE 206

196 Shank, M. S. &. Tumball, A. P. (1993). Cooperative family problem solving: An intervention for single parent families of children with disabilities. In G. H. S. Singer &. L. E. Powers (Eds.), Families, disability and empowerment (pp. 231254). Baltimore: Brookes. Shapiro, E. S. (1987). Intervention research methodology in school psychology. School Psvcholoev Review. 16 . 290-305. Shea, T. M., & Bauer, A. M. (1991). Parents and teachers of children with exceptionalities: A handbook of collaboration. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Sheridan, S. M. (1993). Models for working with parents. In J. E. Zins, T. R. Kratochwill, & S. N. Elliott (Eds.), Handbook of consultation services for children: Applications in educational and clinical settings (pp.1 10-133). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Sheridan, S. M., & Colton, D. L. (1994). Conjoint behavioral consultation: A review and case study. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 5 , 21 1-228. Sheridan, S. M., & Kratochwill, T. R. (1992). Behavioral parent-teacher consultation: Conceptual and research considerations. Journal of School Psychology, 30 , 117139. Sheridan, S. M., Kratochwill, T. R., «fe Elliott. S. N. (1990). Behavioral consultation with parents and teachers: Delivering treatment for socially withdrawn children at home and school. School Psychology Review. 19, 33-52. Sheridan. S. M., & Steck, M. C. (1995). Acceptability of conjoint behavioral consultation: A national survey of school psychologists. School Psychology Review. 24. 633-647. Shields. C. G., Sprenkle. D. H., & Constantine, J. A. (1991). Anatomy of an initial interview: The importance of joining and structuring skills. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 19 . 3-18. Shriver, M. D., & Kramer, J. J. (1993). Parent involvement in an early childhood special education program: A descriptive analysis of parent demographics and level of involvement. Psychology in the Schools. 30 , 255-263. Shure, M. B. (1993). I can problem solve (ICPS): Interpersonal cognitive problem solving for young children. Early Child Development and Care. 96 . 49-64.

PAGE 207

197 Silverstein. J., Springer, J., & Russo, N. (1992). Involving parents in the special education process. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home school collaboration: Enhancing children's academic and social competence (pp. 383-407). Silver Spring, MD: NASP. Simon, D. J. (1984). Parent conferences as therapeutic moments. Personnel an d Guidance Journal 62 , 612-616. Simpson, R. L. (1988). Needs of parents and families whose children have learning and behavior problems. Behavioral Disorders, 14 , 40-47. Singer, G. H. S., & Powers, L. E. (1993). Contributing to resilience in families: An overview. In G. H. S. Singer & L. E. Powers (Eds.), Families, disability and em powerment: Active coping skills and strategies for family interventions (pp. 1-26). Baltimore: Brookes. Sinnott, J. D. (1989). Background: About this book and the filed of everyday problem solving. In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.), Everyday problem solving: Theory and practice. (pp. 1-6). New York: Praeger. Slade, D. L. (1990). Home-school partnerships for the education of sev erely emotionally disturbed students. Toronto, Canada: Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, April 23-27. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 324 881) Sloper, P., &. Turner, S. (1993). Determinants of parental satisfaction with disclosure of disability. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 35 . 816-825. Smallwood, D. L., Hawryluk, M. K., & Pierson, E. (1990). Promoting parent involvement in schools to serve at-risk students. Special Services in the Schools. 6. 197-214. Smith A. B., & Hubbard. P. M. (1988). The relationship between parent/staff commimication and children's behaviour in early childhood settings. Early Child Development and Care. 35 , 13-28. Smith, S. K. (1996). Florida population studies. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, The Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Smith, S. K. (1997). Florida estimates of population 1996. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, The Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Spaccarelli, S., Cotler, S.. & Penman, D. (1992). Problem-solving skills training as a supplement to behavioral parent training. Cognitive Therapy and Research. 16. 1-18.

PAGE 208

198 Stiles, W. B. (1980). Measurement of the impact of psychotherapy sessions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 48 . 176-185. Stiles, W. B. (1989). Use of the Session Evaluation Questionnaire . Unpublished manuscript, Miami University at Oxford. Stiles, W. B., Shapiro, D. A., & Firth-Cozens, J. A. (1988). Do sessions of different treatments have different impacts? .Toumal of Co unseling Psychology. 35. 391-396. Stiles, W. B., & Snow, J. S. (1984). Counseling session impact as viewed by novice counselors and their clients. .Toumal of Counseling P sychology. 31. 3-12. Stiles, W. B., Tupler, L. A., & Carpenter, J. C. (1982). Participants' perceptions of self-analytic group sessions. Small Group Behavior. 13. 237-254. Sundstrom, S. M. (1994). Single-session psychotherapy for depression: Is it better to be problem-focused or solution-focused? Dissertation Abstracts International. 54,3867. Sutherland, I. R. (1991). Parent-teacher involvement benefits everyone. Early Child Development and Care. 73 . 121-131. Sutter, J., & Eyberg, S. (1984). Sutter-Evberg Student Behavior Inventory. (Available fi-om S. Eyberg, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, HSC, Box 100165, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.) Swap, S. A. (1992). Parent involvement and success for all children: What we know now. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhancing the academic and social competence of children (pp. 53-80). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Tharinger, D. (1995). Roles for psychologists in emerging models of school-related health and mental health services. School Psychology Quarterly. 10 . 203-216. Tharinger, D., & Horton, C. B. (1992). Family-school partnerships: The response to child sexual abuse as a challenging example. In S. L. Christenson &. J. C. Conoley (Eds.) Home-school collaboration: Enhancing the academic and social competence of children (pp. 467-486). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Thomas, F. N. (1996). Solution-focused supervision: The coaxing of expertise. In S. D. Miller. M. A. Hubble, & B. L. Duncan (Eds.), Handbook of solution-focused brief therapy (128-151). San Francisco: Jossey-Boss, Inc.

PAGE 209

199 Thompson, B. J. ( 1 993). Client perceptions of therapist competence. Psychotherapy Research. 3 , 124-130. Thomburg, K. R. (1981). Attitudes of secondary principals, teachers, parents, and students. High School Journal. 64 , 150-153. Trautman, P. D., Stewart, N., & Morishima, A. (1991). Are adolescent suicide attempters noncompliant with outpatient care? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 31. 89-94. ia Tuma, J. M. (1989). Mental health services for children: The state of the art. American ^ ^ Psychologist. 41. 188-1 89. Tyron, G. S. (1990). Session depth and smoothness in relation to the concept of engagement in counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 37. 248-253. Valentine, M. R. (1992). How to deal with difficult school discipline problems: A family systems approach adapted for schools. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhancing the aca demic and social com petence of children (pp. 357-382). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Vaughn, K., Webster, D., Orahood, S., & Young, B. C. (1995). Brief inpatient psychiatric treatment: Finding solutions. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 16 . 519-531. Vaughn, S., Bos, C. S., HarreU, J. E., & Lasky, B. A. (1988). Parent participation in the initial lEP conference: Ten years after mandated inyolvement. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 21 . 82-89. Vickers. H. S. & Minke, K. M. (1995). Exploring parent-teacher relationships: Joining and communication to others. School Psychology Quarterly. 10 . 133-150. Walker, B., & Singer, G. H. S. (1993). Improving collaborative communication between professionals and parents. In G. H. S. Singer & L. E. Powers (Eds.), Families, disability, and empowerment: Active coping skills and strategies for family interventions (pp. 285-316). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing. Ware, L. P. (1994). Contextual barriers to collaboration. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 5 , 339-357. Waters, D. B., & Lawrence, E. C. (1993). Competence, courage, and change: An approach to family therapy . New York: Norton. Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J. H., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution . New York: Norton.

PAGE 210

200 Webster D. C. Vaughn, K., & Martinez, R. (1994). Introducing solution-focused approaches to staff in inpatient psychiatric settings. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 8 . 254-261. Webster, D., Vaughn, K., Webb, M., & Playter, A. (1995). Modeling the cUent's world through brief solution-focused therapy. Issues in Me ntal Health Nursing. 16, 505-518. Webster-Stratton, C. (1993). Strategies for helping early school-aged children with oppositional defiant and conduct disorders: The importance of school-home partnerships. School Psychology Review. 22 . 437-457. Webster-Stratton, C, & Eyberg, S. (1982). Child temperament: Relationship with child behavior problems and parent-child interactions. Journal of C linical Child Psychology. 11 . 123-129. Webster-Stratton, C, & Hammond, M. (1990). Predictors of treatment outcomes in parent training for families with conduct problem children. Behavior T herapy. 21. 319-337. Weeks, G. R., & L'Abate, L. (1982). Paradoxical psychotherapy : Theory and practice. New York: Brunner/Mazel. Weiner-Davis, M., de Shazer, S., Gingerich, W. J. (1987). Using pretreatment change to construct a therapeutic solution: An exploratory study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 13 . 359-363. Weiss, H. M., & Edwards, M. E. (1992). The family-school collaboration project: Systemic interventions for school improvement. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhancing children 's academic and social competence (pp. 215-243). Silver Springs, MD: NASP. Werthamer-Larsson, L. (1994). Methodological issues in school-based services research. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. 23, 121-132. West, J.F., & Idol, L. (1993). The counselor as consultant in the collaborative school. Journal of Counseling & Development. 71. 678-683. Whaler, R. G. (1980). The insular mother: Her problems in parent-child relations. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 13. 207-219. Wielkiewicz, R. M. (1992). Behavioral intervention: Home-school collaboration. In S. L. Christenson & J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration: Enhancing the academic and social children's competencies (pp. 333-356). Silver Springs, MD: NASP.

PAGE 211

201 Wise, P. S. (1986). Better parent conferences . Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists. Witt, J. C, & Elliott, S. N. (1983). Assessment in behavioral consultation: The initial interview. School Psychology Review. 12, 42-49. Witt, J. C, & Martens, B. K. (1988). Problems with problem solving consultation: A re-analysis of assumptions, methods, and goals. School Psyc hology Review. 17. 211-226. Wittmer, J., &. Myrick, R. D. (1980). Facilitative teaching: Theo ry and Practice. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation. Wolf, J. S. (1989). Parent-teacher conference: Finding common ground. Educational Leadership. 42 . 28-3 1 . Wolf, M. M. (1978). Social validity: The case for subjective measurement or how applied behavior analysis is finding its heart. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 11 , 203-214. Young, T. M. (1990). Therapeutic case advocacy: A model for interagency collaboration in serving emotionally disturbed children and their families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 60 . 118-124. Zins, J. E. (1993). Enhancing consultee problem-solving skills in consultative interactions. Journal of Counseling and & Development. 72, 185-190. Zins, J. E., & Ponti, C. R. (1990). Best practices in school-based consultation. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology-II . (pp. 673693). Washington, DC: NASP.

PAGE 212

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Maria Isabel Gallardo-Cooper, also known as Maritza, was bom April 1, 1950, in San Juan. Puerto Rico. In 1971, she earned a Bachelors of Arts in psychology with high honors from the University of Puerto Rico. She received a scholarship and stipend during her graduate studies at the University of Houston where she completed a Masters of Arts in applied psychology, clinical track in 1974. Her professional experience include working as a therapist, supervisor, and administrator in several children and family mental health programs. She worked at the Robert B. Green Hospital, Children's Unit-Child Psychiatry Department, from the University of Texas in San Antonio under the direction of Alberto Serrano, M.D. In 1975 while living in Gainesville, she worked at the North Central Florida Community Mental Health Center where she began as a therapist in the Child and Family Program and later coordinated the residential treatment program for adolescents. The Turning Point. During the years 1977 to 1987, Maritza and her femily lived in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to her work at the Child Guidance Clinic as a child and family therapist, she helped develop and implement mental health consultation programs for Nassau and Duval County Schools. From 1983 to 1987 she held a successfiil private practice as a marriage and family therapist and as a school psychologist. Before moving to Melbourne Beach, Florida, in 1989, Maritza lived in Puerto Rico and worked as a school consultant and interventionist. Since then Maritza has been the Program Director of the Child, Adolescent and Family Treatment Center for Circles of 202

PAGE 213

203 Care, Inc., in Melbourne, Florida. She currently oversees two outpatient clinics and an in-home treatment program. Maritza has also received recognition for her professional work. In 1978 she was invited to participate in the President's Commission of Mental Health. For one year she worked with other distinguished clinicians on the Hispanic Task Force of the Commission. The resulting work was pubUshed in the President's Commission of Mental Health. In 1991 she was recognized by her peers for outstanding clinical work and was nominated by Circles of Care, Inc., for recognition with the Florida CouncU for Community Mental Health. Maritza shares her life with her husband of 23 years, George Cooper, and their two children Nisa Pilar and Jonathan.

PAGE 214

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Wittmerr^hairman guished Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fiilly adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. mnctt'^^.^arsen ( lessor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. ^^^^^^ Cecil D. Mercer Professor of Special Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree oLDoctor of Philosopl w^oodroe M. Parker Professor of Counselor Education This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. December 1997 ' >^^-^--^'^ Q. ^7^c^<&^o(^ Deari, College of Eduction ^^S" Dean, Graduate School