Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Research Methods and Information Science, Research Methods and Statistics

First Advisor

Elizabeth Anderson

Second Advisor

Kathy Green

Third Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth

Fourth Advisor

Frédérique Chevillot




Students with emotional disabilities are disproportionately suspended and expelled in K-12 schools. Attribution theory suggests individuals are less likely to provide assistance to others if they believe the individuals are responsible for their own difficulties. To test attribution theory, this study created new measures of explicit attitudes and implicit associations of licensed 6-12th grade staff regarding students with depression as well as a helping behavior measure of staff toward students with depression. The survey was distributed within a single school district in the western United States. A majority of the sample (N = 52) held a mental health license (60%), were service providers (62%), and experienced symptoms of depression (45%). The measures of the dimensions of explicit attitudes, external control (α = .28), locus (α = .23), personal control (α = .19), and stability (α = .18), showed limited evidence of reliability as did the helping behavior measure (α = .19). A confirmatory factor analysis model with attitudes predicting helping behaviors did not have evidence of the model fit, χ² (1, N = 44) = 66.50, p < .001. The implicit association test found evidence of reliability (α = .74) and found a large effect size (Cohen’s d = -3.44). This finding indicates staff associate student symptoms of depression with ‘bad’ more quickly than they associate it with ‘good.’

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Paul M. Thompson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

207 p.


Education, Mental health