Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Steven J. Scher


Despite the expanding body of research pertaining to social support practices within the educational environment, there remain questions regarding which types of social supports and teacher behaviors students perceive as being most meaningful. This mixed-methods study investigated students' perceptions of social supports as offered by teachers and other school professionals through the use of qualitative narrative reports and quantitative rating scales. Participants included 94 regular and special education middle school students. Results revealed three types of positive social support (Informational Support, Instructional Support and Emotional Support, respectively) and one type of negative social support (Lack of/Negative Emotional Support) that emerged most frequently in student reports. Results also indicated several types of teacher behaviors that most frequently emerged in student reports: Conveys Interest in Student Wellness, Improves Student Mood/Emotion, Causes Negative Student Mood/Emotion, and Interest in Student Progress. Results of ratings scales indicated that Emotional and Informational Support were observed most frequently and viewed as being most important to students. The implications and limitations of the study and direction for future research are discussed.