Online Program

Rethinking problem behaviour: Understanding the impact of developmental context for children with emotional/behavioural disorders

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jennifer Lavoie, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Liane Pereira, M.A., M.S., Faculty of Education, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Jessica Ruglis, PhD, MPH, MAT, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Within the field of mental health, elementary and secondary schools rely on diagnoses of emotional/behavioural disorders (EBD) to identify which students need increased classroom support. This categorization consequently facilitates the necessary funding in order to provide that support, demonstrating that such diagnoses have gained significance within the ecology of schools. However, there are many issues that arise from diagnosing a student with an emotional/behavioural disorder such as the responsibility of any other factors which may have contributed to the existence of the dis/orderly behaviour is removed and placed solely on the child. Because we know that children do not develop in isolation to their surroundings, this raises the question of how the environments in which children mature influence their dis/orderly behaviour. Additionally, research findings have highlighted social inequity within the diagnostic practices of EBD, such as the overrepresentation of boys, children from lower SES neighbourhoods, children living with one parent, and children of racial/ethnic minorities. The purpose of this paper is to place diagnoses of emotional/behavioural disorders within the perspective of an ecological model in order to consider how the environments in which children develop impact their dis/orderly behaviour in school and at home, and to recommend the use of such models to frame diagnoses of EBD within educational settings.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the implications of current diagnostic practices for emotional/behavioural disorders for students in elementary and secondary schools. Discuss the use of an ecological model of diagnosis for emotional/behavioural disorders in elementary and secondary schools.

Keyword(s): Mental Disorders, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-principal investigator in a review of the implications of diagnostic practices for emotional/behavioural disorders. My research interests include the relationship between stress in childhood and emotional/behavioural disorders in children and adolescents.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.