Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Cameo Stanick

Commitee Members

Anisa Goforth, Lindsey Nichols


school-family initiative, school-based mental health, Positive Family Support, feasibility, implementation barriers


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Increased prevalence of child psychological difficulties demonstrates a need for feasible mental health interventions that are available to children and families. Previous research shows evidence for the effectiveness of family-focused, school-based mental health programs in addressing child academic and behavioral problems. However, various barriers exist that prevent such programs from being implemented with fidelity: ability to identify high-risk children and families; school staff and caregiver attitudes, motivation, and satisfaction regarding use of the program; and program costs. The current study examined the feasibility of a rural school-family initiative that contained aspects of the Positive Family Support (PFS) program, including an examination of the previously listed implementation barriers. Participants included administrators, mental health support staff, teachers, and caregivers (e.g., parents) who are involved in implementation of PFS in a public middle school. Participants completed measures developed to assess attitudes, motivation, and satisfaction regarding use of PFS. Additionally, participants who were willing to complete a follow-up interview were asked specific questions regarding their involvement in and perceptions of PFS. Results suggested that the PFS program is not feasible within the target school setting, though the school was able to use aspects of the PFS program to develop a school-family initiative that appeared to positively impact participants’ perceptions of school-family partnerships. Results showed that participants held attitudes that compliment PFS program goals, as well as generally positive perceptions that the school was able and motivated to implement the school-family initiative. Qualitative interview results provided insight into the barriers that prevented the school from implementing all aspects of the PFS program. The current study contributes to the field by initiating dissemination and implementation research examining the effectiveness and sustainability of PFS in a public middle school setting.

Included in

Psychology Commons



© Copyright 2016 Heather M. Halko