The California School Psychologist

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 39–49 | Cite as

Predicting Positive Outcomes for Students With Emotional Disturbance

  • Amanda B. NickersonEmail author
  • Amy M. Brosof
  • Valerie B. Shapiro
Special Topic Article


This longitudinal study assessed changes in skills for students with emotional disturbance (ED) over a one-year time period in a private special education school and examined variables that predicted positive outcomes for these students. At Time 1, teachers rated 84 students with ED using standardized behavior rating scales to assess problem severity and skills for predicting inclusion. Information was also obtained about students’ school behavior from the school’s behavioral level system. One year later (Time 2), the educational placement of 83 of the 84 students was categorized as being either equal/more restrictive or being less restrictive, and teachers completed rating scales assessing skills for inclusion and emotional/behavioral strengths of 54 students still enrolled in the special education school. Students exhibited improved peer relationships and emotional maturity, and demonstrated several strengths. Scores indicated that the students with ED were unlikely to experience success in less restrictive educational settings. Although none of the variables predicted placement in less restrictive educational settings, problem severity, school behavior, and skills for inclusion each predicted the other positive outcomes. The importance of using strength-based approaches, in addition to empirically supported interventions, is highlighted.

Key words

Strengths Emotional Disturbance Educational Placement 


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Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda B. Nickerson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amy M. Brosof
    • 2
  • Valerie B. Shapiro
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology; ED 232University at Albany-State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Devereux Day SchoolDowningtownUSA
  3. 3.Devereux Institute for Clinical Training and ResearchVillanovaUSA

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