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Educator Literacy Concerning Elementary Students' Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

Nelson, Melissa M. (2019) Educator Literacy Concerning Elementary Students' Anxiety and Depressive Disorders. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Ten to 20 percent of children and adolescents meet criteria for a mental disorder over the course of their lives. Though educators are omnipresent in nearly every aspect of a child’s K-12 years, United States educators receive minimal or no coursework or professional development that focuses on educators’ mental health literacy. While a substantial body of research has established that mental disorders adversely affect social, emotional, and academic development, educators’ lack of mental health literacy leaves them significantly unaware of basic symptoms, behaviors, and outcomes of mental disorders as well as supports and interventions for children and adolescents with mental disorders. The aims of this study were to extend research that examines what elementary educators know about childhood depression and anxiety disorders, and b) to explore whether professional development, in the form of a book study, could increase educators’ mental health literacy.
The study design incorporated an analysis of surveys and journal responses to determine what educators know about childhood depressive and anxiety disorders and if they increased their knowledge about these mental disorders. Participants also shared how they might incorporate any knowledge they gained into their daily classroom pedagogy. The participants included 20 K-5 educators, from six elementary schools in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Over the course of nine weeks, the educators participated in a book study that included assigned readings; three, one-hour discussion sessions; pre- and post-surveys; and, journal responses after each session. The surveys and journal entries were analyzed to determine if their mental health literacy increased over the course of the nine-week study. The study established that teachers increased their understanding of childhood depressive and anxiety disorders. The findings from this study may also be interpreted as a basis for universities and school systems to create mental health literacy coursework and professional development as the educators repeatedly stated the value of the training they received.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nelson, Melissa M.MEN49@pitt.eduMEN49
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKerr, Mary
Committee MemberTrovato,
Committee MemberJacobson,
Date: 25 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 May 2019
Approval Date: 25 September 2019
Submission Date: 7 July 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 88
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental Health Literacy Teachers
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 15:24
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 15:24


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