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School Psychologists’ Perceived Competence and Training Needs for Student Substance Abuse

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ABSTRACT Background: 

School psychologists are some of the most likely personnel to deliver mental health services, including substance abuse, in school settings, but there is limited research on the perceived competence of school psychologists to address student substance abuse concerns. The 3 aims of this study were to determine how school psychologists perceive their training in 9 competence areas related to student substance abuse and to identify which training areas they indicate as being most needed to address student substance and which substances they perceive as being the most common in their schools. Methods: 

A descriptive survey study was conducted with a national sample of 210 school psychologists working in high schools. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance to test for differences between competency areas; descriptive statistics and correlation analyses were employed to determine key training areas for school psychologists. Results: 

Findings indicated that school psychologists varied in their ratings of perceived competence to address student substance abuse concerns. Participants identified screening and assessment, consultation, and individual interventions as the most important areas for future training. Conclusions: 

School psychologists need and want more training for working with students who use or abuse substances. Implications for pre-service and in-service training are discussed and directions for future research are provided.
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Keywords: high schools; professional preparation; school psychology; substance abuse

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Doctoral Student, ( ), Department of Educational Psychology, University of Utah, 1705 Campus Center Dr., Rm. 327, Salt Lake City, UT 84112., Email: [email protected] 2: Doctoral Student, ( ), Department of Special Education, University of Utah, 1705 Campus Center Dr., Rm. 225, Salt Lake City, UT 84112., Email: [email protected] 3: Associate Professor, ( ), Department of Special Education, University of Utah, 1705 Campus Center Dr., Rm. 225, Salt Lake City, UT 84112., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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