Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sarah Summy


Research has shown that schools do not typically participate in the systematic monitoring of psychotropic medications prescribed to school-aged children with emotional disorders. Conversely, research indicates that the information that is relayed to the prescribing physician from the schools consists, in general, of informal global reports regarding the student's overall behavior. Additionally, research evaluating systematic monitoring systems within schools has lacked input from the prescribing physician regarding relevant data to be collected. These findings provided impetus for the present project, which was an attempt to develop a practical system for schools to monitor possible desired and adverse effects of psychotropic medications.

For this project input from parents/guardians, teachers, and an interested psychiatrist was used to select procedures for measuring these effects. Possible desired effects in several behavioral domains were assessed using the Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form (CBRF) -Parent and -Teacher scales, whereas side effects were evaluated using the Detection of Side Effect Scale (DOSES). Data intended to reflect the status of students at home and at school were obtained monthly from parents/guardians and teachers, respectively. Parents/guardians and teachers were surveyed concerning their satisfaction with this monitoring system and the results obtained were conveyed to the participating psychiatrist. Finally, information was obtained regarding the medication monitoring process prior to the onset of the present study.

The results of the parent/guardian and teacher acceptability surveys indicate that both the Nisonger CBRF scales and the DOSES were easy to understand. And at the end of the present study, the School Social Worker was familiar enough with the N-CBRF scales and the DOSES to report these data to the prescribing psychiatrist directly. A key issue in evaluating the effects of psychotropic medications in school settings is developing procedures that yield clinically meaningful data without unduly burdening school personnel. To that end, the monitoring system developed for the present study indicates a positive step in that direction.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access