Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy In The Context Of A Rural School Mental Health Programme Have An Impact On Academic Outcomes?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kurt D. Michael Ph.D, Professor (Creator)
Ph.D. John Paul Jameson, Associate Professor (Contributor)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Given the prevalence of mental health difficulties among children and adolescents, schools have become a suitable context for providing psychological services to those who may otherwise go untreated. The co-occurrence of mental health impairments and academic problems has been widely cited, and many school mental health (SMH) programmes have begun to assess academic variables in treatment outcome. The current study evaluated a rural SMH programme’s success at treating symptoms of psychological distress among high school participants and the potential association with participants’ attendance, grade point averages (GPAs) and discipline referrals. Participants were 58 high school students between 14 and 18 years old. Results indicate that non-manualized cognitive behavioural therapy administered for an average of 14.88 sessions was successful at treating mental health concerns, as measured by a self-report questionnaire collected several times throughout treatment. In addition, a large proportion of students demonstrated improvements or stability in attendance and discipline when comparing baseline and post-treatment data, though no differences emerged between the time points for the sample as a whole. Although the academic outcomes were not impressive overall, individual outcomes varied widely, with slightly over half of the students recording higher GPAs than at baseline. Furthermore, the fact that stability rates across the variables were reasonably high might suggest that we consider widening the definition of success to include protection from decline, reserving expectations for improvement only for those who present with difficulties in that particular academic outcome. The findings documented here illustrate the need for more nuanced approaches to understanding the relationship between intervention and academic performance.

Additional Information

Kurt D. Michael, John Paul Jameson, Abby Albright, Rafaella Sale , Cameron Massey , Alex Kirk & Theresa Egan (2013) "Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy In The Context Of A Rural School Mental Health Programme Have An Impact On Academic Outcomes? Advances in School Mental Health Promotion #6 pp. 247-262. Version of Record Available From
Language: English
Date: 2013
school mental health, rural, academic outcomes, cognitive behavioural therapy

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