The Status of Services to Students with Conduct Disorder by their Elementary School Counselors

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Conduct Disorder (CD) is one of the most frequently occurring childhood behavior disorders. A state wide survey of elementary school counselors was conducted concerning the services provided to these students. Elementary school counselors were asked to identify peers to be interviewed (six) who are more effective than usual in providing these services.

The study found: 1) Students with CD comprise about 2% of the populations of respondent schools. 2) On average, respondents devote 19% of their work time to students with CD. Almost all feel somewhat or highly frustrated in providing services to students with CD; rate themselves as only somewhat or not very effective in providing these services, and less effective with students with CD than with other populations. 3) Respondents identified the number one need as further training for themselves specific to providing services to students with CD, and rated their graduate training for this work negatively. 4) Seventeen percent of respondent schools receive no services for students with CD from outside agencies, and most rated the services negatively.

The six interviewees contributed: 1) Creative and unique services for students with CD are often required for success, such as a whole class treatment for a class containing two students with-CD like behaviors and a teacher mentoring program for students with CD. 2) While there was no consensus among interviewees for a most effective service activity, they tended to name indirect services such as developing and coordinating behavior modification plans and teacher mentoring programs as the most important part of treatment programs. Individual counseling was rarely named as the most important aspectof treatment programs, but was described as important for providing an understanding of the student that allows for effective customizing of the behavior modification plan, and developing a therapeutic relationship that allows credibility for counselor guidance in times of crisis or opportunity for these students.

Recommendations to improve the status of services to students with CD by their elementary school counselors were made for counselor educators, administrators of school counselors, non-school agencies, and elementary school counselors. Further research recommendations are also made.