Predictors of School Punishment in a Day Treatment Setting

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Apryl Alexander

Second Advisor

Lavita Nadkarni

Third Advisor

Michelle Novotny


Day treatment, Mental health, School punishment, Adolescents


Research has consistently pointed to the inefficacy of school suspensions and the negative impact it can have on student outcomes. Despite robust research on the topic, little research has been conducted on suspensions and alternative punishment models that are trauma-informed and restorative in day treatment settings. The present study analyzed archival data from 51 students discharged from Denver Children’s Home between 2014-2017. Specific aims were to look at outcomes of students in a day treatment setting and specifically how consequences differ or align with typical school settings, and to measure the efficacy of the refocus room, a preliminary in-school alternative to suspensions. The population of students at Denver Children’s Home is unique and previous studies have not focused on day treatments with schools. Findings confirmed the hypotheses that non-White children would be disciplined more than White children. Associations between past hospitalizations, legal history, and gender and their relationship to discipline referrals were not statistically significant. Learning disabilities and discipline referrals were not significantly related to unsuccessful discharge. Future research should compare the present findings with different day treatment programs and assess the implementation of restorative justice techniques in similar settings. Restorative justice research is still in its early stages and programs appear to be minimally implemented, despite promising preliminary findings.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


29 pages

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