School Psychologists' and Teachers' Knowledge of Behaviors Associated with Anxiety or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in School Children
Westphal, Nicholas B.
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Children commonly show behaviors characteristic of anxiety or Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) when attending school (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Jarrett & Ollendick, 2008). Both teachers and school psychologists interact with students frequently during the school day (Havey, Olson, McCormick, & Cates, 2005). The results of empirical studies of teachers' and school psychologists' knowledge of behaviors associated with anxiety and ADHD are mixed (Epkins, 1995; Hepp, Visser, & Strain, 2008; Layne, Bernstein & March, 2006; Ohan, Cormier, Jerome, Gordon & Hustler, 1994; Verdi & Wilson, 2009; Weyandt, Fulton, Schepman, Herbert, Crittenden & Dalrymple, 2004). The purpose of the current study was to investigate teachers' and school psychologists' ability to accurately identify behaviors associated with anxiety and ADHD in school children. The participants were a sample of 58 second and third grade elementary teachers and 52 school psychologists from the state of Wisconsin. Each participant was sent an electronic link and asked to complete an online survey instructing him/her to rate behaviors associated with either anxiety or ADHD. Both scenario and statement items were utilized. Depressive symptoms and oppositional behaviors were added as distracter items. Each scenario and statement utilized a Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree) to rate statements. Participants were also asked to report demographic information. Results of the study indicated that school psychologists and teachers agreed that behaviors associated with one disorder were indicative of that disorder. In addition, both school psychologists and teachers generally disagreed when rating behaviors associated with a different disorder as representative of the disorder presented. Results also indicated that school psychologists and teachers were less certain when rating the distracter items as clearly not indicative of a disorder. Implications for school psychologists and teachers regarding identification of behaviors associated with a disorder are discussed.
Attention-deficit-disordered children -- Education -- United States