Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger R. Ries


The number of students with disruptive behaviors in the public school classroom has become an area of increasing concern for educators. In order to develop proper therapeutic remediation strategies for the behaviorally at risk student, it is important to identify specific roadblocks to the psychological development of adaptive behavior. Students who have been suspended from school multiple times may be representative of a group with specific pattern of psychological growth that are different from other students. This study was directed toward exploring possible variables that may set students who are frequently suspended apart from a control group of students who had no history of school suspensions.;A high school in the Tidewater area of Virginia was selected as a population with cultural and economic diversity. Students in the Target group, with multiple suspensions, were selected from the discipline records; students in the Control group, with no suspensions, were selected from the regular education rolls. Twenty-six students participated in the Target group and 28 students participated in the Control group. All students completed the SITA; 8 subscales were used which attempt to measure the various subphases of separation-individuation. Teachers completed the CBCL-TRF to rate adaptive classroom functioning on 3 subscales.;Group means were compared using either a t-test or an adjusted t-test for level of significance. The CBCL showed a significant difference between the groups regarding degree of anger turned outward and in level of regard for societal norms with the Target group showing more aggressive behavior and less regard for societal expectations. No significant difference was seen between the 2 groups of students on the development of social skills.;Analysis of the SITA subscales showed a significant difference on 1 of the 8 subscales. The Target group evidenced higher denial of attachment needs with more difficulty understanding feelings of love, closeness, and friendship. No significant difference was evidenced in level of development in separation anxiety, engulfment anxiety, nurturance seeking, peer enmeshment, teacher enmeshment, practicing mirroring, or healthy separation.



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