Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Noal Cochran

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Alisa Lowrey

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 5 School



Educating students with emotional and behavior disorders (EBD) has historically been a difficult task for educators (McKenna et al., 2021). The general education setting comes with many barriers when attempting to include students with EBD to the equation. Parents are instrumental to the success of their students with EBD regardless to the setting. Educators may lack in the skills needed to communicate, educate, and understand students with EBD. Without educators and parents collectively communicating and collaborating, students with EBD will not have the opportunity to have the positive experiences and outcomes to be successful. Applying the theoretical frameworks of Bandura’s social cognitive theory and Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory of planned behavior, this mixed methods study aims is to examine the attitudes of educators and parents regarding the inclusion of students with emotional and behavior disorders into the general education classroom.

Phase I was conducted using quantitative methods to explore the attitudes of educators regarding general inclusion, students with emotional and behavioral disorders in inclusion, perceived barriers of inclusion before and during the pandemic and the specific supports educators suggest for overcoming those barriers. After completion of Phase I, the data was analyzed and the overall results indicated that educators have a positive attitude regarding the inclusion of students with EBD; however, the attitudes of educators can greatly affect the effectiveness of inclusion when factors such as lack of collaboration, communication, implementation, and educator knowledge are prevalent.

Phase II of this study, consisted of semi-structured interviews with parents of students with EBD and obtained their view of inclusion based on their past and current experiences with their child in the elementary education setting. Upon completion of the interviews with each parent participant, the data were transcribed and coded and as a result three major themes emerged from the experiences of the parents of students with emotional and behavior disorders: (a) social stigma; (b) teacher preparedness; and (c) communication.