Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2005


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Gary Shank

Committee Member

Sarah Tambucci


bibliotherapy, curriculum, drama, middle school, self-efficacy, Special Education


The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of dramatic arts in combination with bibliotherapy, which is the use of literary sources to help people solve complex problems and find understanding about a topic (Sullivan and Strang, 2003). The Drama Discovery curriculum was piloted in a middle school classroom for eleven students with emotional/ behavioral disabilities and one student with delinquent behaviors at a small private alternative education school in Western Pennsylvania. Students with emotional/ behavioral disabilities often have low self-efficacy when it comes to explaining their own disabilities, coping with the label of having a disability, and the general issues that come from having a disability. The main factor that was examined through the qualitative assessment was whether or not the students' self-efficacy regarding their own emotional disability was affected by reading about and acting out characters that have similar issues. "Perceived self-efficacy refers to the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments" (Bandura, 1997, p.3) The collection method for this qualitative study included observations, field notes, audio taped documentation, student journals, and interviews. The author wrote a Pre-conceptual Map to initiate the study. The observations that directly matched the original assumptions and the realities of the classroom that did not directly correlate were written about in separate sections and anecdotally reported according to the themes that arose. The author's prediction of this dissertation proved to be correct when there was a positive effect on the students' self-efficacy regarding their own exceptionality.