BethAnn Glew

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Launcelot Brown

Committee Member

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Ara J. Schmitt


Aggression, Collaborative Problem Solving model, Emotional disturbance, Noncompliance, Restraint, Seclusion


The intent of this study was to determine whether implementation of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model, that has proven successful in psychiatric settings, was equally effective in reducing restrictive practices in public school settings. Many peer-reviewed, published reports suggest that educators are poorly prepared to manage the extremely challenging behaviors of aggression and non-compliance, which are common in students classified with an emotional disturbance (ED). Too often educators rely on ineffective, potentially harmful interventions such as seclusion and restraint, which adversely impact students as well as staff. The nonrandom sample was comprised of students enrolled in two segregated special education schools located in large communities in northwestern Pennsylvania. The enrollment was 69 students in School A and 26 students in School B. The schools serve students, kindergarten through twelfth grade. All students were evaluated and classified as ED by their referring home school district as per Chapter 14 Regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and received one-hundred percent of their special education program in this restrictive school-based environment. This study used a quasi-experimental, pre-test-post-test research design and used two separate existing electronic data sources to test for relationships between the implementation of the CPS model and identified variables (standardized measures of externalizing maladaptive behaviors, incidents of aggression, noncompliance, and disruption, as well as incidents and duration of seclusion and restraint). The analyses included frequency comparisons, a series of Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests, a series of dependent samples T-tests, and two-way repeated measures analyses of variance. Implementation of the model reduced the incidents of aggression, noncompliance, and disruption, as well as incidents and duration of seclusion and restraint. However, only one of the schools in the study demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of aggression incidents and the use of restraint procedures. The results suggest that when implemented with fidelity, the research-based CPS model is a promising, preventative behavior approach for students classified with ED in a segregated special education school.