Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Dr. Charles C. Warfield
Dr. Patrick Jenlink
Dr. John Meissner
Male and female adolescents who reported recent suspension/ threats of suspension or academic failure were compared to male and female adolescents who did not report these two variables of dropping out on three measures--the discrete negative uncontrollable events experienced (LEQ-A, Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen ), the level of distress (GHQ-30, Goldberg ), and the types of coping skills used (A-COPE, Patterson & McCubbin ). Native and non-Native at risk for suspension and academic failure rates were also compared using archival data from a community mental health survey of 714 adolescents (36 Native) attending high school in Northern Ontario.
Native adolescents reported significantly greater at risk for suspension and academic failure than non-Native students. Thirty-six percent of Native adolescents reported at risk for suspension compared to 15% non-Native adolescents. Nineteen percent of Natives reported recent academic failure compared to 8% non-Natives.
Male and female adolescents at risk for suspension or academic failure reported significantly more discrete adverse events compared to males and females not at risk. Females at risk for suspension or academic failure reported the greatest stress, followed by males at risk, females not at risk, and males not at risk. Male and female adolescents at risk for suspension reported significantly more distress than males and females not at risk for suspension. Females at risk for suspension reported the most distress followed by females not at risk. The hypothesis that there would be differences in distress for academic failure was rejected.
Males at risk for suspension differed significantly on 3 of the 12 coping styles compared to males not at risk. Females at risk for suspension differed on 5 coping styles. Males and females who reported academic failure each differed on one coping style compared to adolescents who did not fail recently.
This study supports the need for educational leaders to examine racial/ethnic reasons for differences in suspension and academic failure rates. It supports the connection between at risk for dropping out, as measured by suspension and academic failure and stress, distress, and coping styles of adolescents.
Massicotte, Jennifer, "Adolescent Students at Risk: The Roles of Stress, Distress, and Coping" (1996). Dissertations. 1716.