Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Lisbeth A Berbary

Committee Member

E Renee Sanders-Lawson

Committee Member

Jeffery Wilson


The scholarship on exposure to violence suggests that traumatic and violent experiences place students at risk for exhibiting externalizing and internalizing behaviors that may impede academic performance. Moreover, the lack of effective programs and services has perpetuated the problem of unmet or underserved mental health needs. The purpose of the present study was to understand mental health clinicians' perspectives of best practices within the context of a two-week, school-based summer camp designed to provide therapeutic services to middle school students who have been exposed to violence. Bronfenbrenner's ecology of human development and Vygotsky's principle of the zone of proximal development framed the intrinsic case study. The constructs of resiliency and positive youth development were also integral to understanding the case. Guided by four research questions, the study explored 1) the execution of mental health services during the camp, 2) the clinicians' experiences, 3) the clinicians' perceptions of student experiences, and 4) suggested transformations for future camps. The qualitative data collection methods, which took place over a six-month period, consisted of seven semi-structured interviews, almost 90 occurrences of participant and non-participant observations, and a number of relevant artifacts. Using thematic analysis, the data were coded, categorized, and yielded 13 emergent themes. A common factor among the themes was the importance of building healthy relationships between adolescents and supportive adults in fostering resilience and promoting positive youth development.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.