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Family Research Scholar ‘11-‘12 Sara Whitcomb's Dissertation to be Published

Assistant Professor of Education and current Family Research Scholar Sara Whitcomb’s dissertation "Understanding Implementation and Effectiveness of Strong Start K-2 on Social-Emotional Behavior” will be  published in the Early Childhood Education Journal. 

The Early Childhood Education Journal analyzes issues, trends, policies, and practices for early childhood education from birth through age eight.

Her dissertation, co-authored with the late Kenneth Merrell of the University of Oregon, evaluates the feasibility and quality of Strong Start implementation and to examine the effect of the intervention on first grade students' perceptions of emotion and teacher ratings of social behavior and affect. The results suggested that Strong Start was implemented with integrity and that exposure to the program resulted in significant increases in student knowledge about emotion situations and significant decreases in student internalizing behaviors.

Whitcomb, whose research interests include implementation of mental health promotion and positive behavior support efforts in schools, and behavioral and instructional consultation, is currently a Family Research Scholar at the Center for Research on Families.  During her year as a CRF Scholar, she will be developing a proposal to examine the effect of implementation of a social-emotional learning curriculum and parent training on the behavior of preschool children, preschool teachers, and parents.

Whitcomb also currently is working with advanced doctoral students and the Amherst Regional School District as they roll-out School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in each school.

In February, she will showcase this work in a symposium titled, "Developing a Clinical Training Model for Home and School Outreach", at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists in Philadelphia, PA.