Understanding elementary teachers' beliefs, attitudes and intentions to support mental health services in schools
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The purpose of this study was to investigate elementary teachers' beliefs, attitudes and intentions to support specific mental health services in schools through the development of a psychometrically sound survey instrument. The theoretical foundation of this study was the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), which posits that (a) a person's intention to perform a behavior is the best predictor of actual behavior, and (b) intention is a function of attitudes towards the behavior and subjective norms. Further, underlying beliefs about outcomes of behavior predict attitudes. One hundred fourteen elementary teachers across a Midwestern state completed the survey, and regression analyses indicated preliminary support for the TRA in predicting intention to support mental health services from attitude and subjective norms. Specifically, subjective norms and positive beliefs about supporting mental health services predicted intention, and both positive and negative outcome beliefs predicted attitudes toward supporting mental health services in schools. Participants in the study generally shared favorable attitudes and outcome beliefs about mental health services. In addition, participants perceived their elementary teacher colleagues to have favorable attitudes towards mental health services. Finally, approximately half of the participants intended to or agreed that a social pressure existed to support mental health services in schools.
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