Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Ehly, Stewart

First Committee Member

Liu, William

Second Committee Member

Wanat, Carolyn

Third Committee Member

Northup, John

Fourth Committee Member

Wood, Kevin


Using data gathered during in-depth interviews as the primary method of analysis, the current study explored the transition planning process and the factors that helped youth with internalizing disorders decide to pursue and enroll in college. More specifically, the purposes of the current study were to: (1) explore the resources and supports available to students with internalizing disorders both within and outside of the high school setting as they prepare for the transition to postsecondary education and (2) explore student perceptions of the impact of the transition planning process. Eight college students from the Midwestern United States who received special education services and had a diagnosed internalizing disorder in high school participated in the study. An analysis of the interviews was conducted using the constant comparative method as a guide. The data analysis process involved creating codes, developing broader categories for codes, comparing newer interview data to prior interview data, and continuing to revise findings until a point was reached where additional coding no longer led to new conclusions. Results of the current study suggest that participants received many of the transition planning components considered to be best practice within the transition planning literature; however, their experiences highlight the need for plans to be tailored in order to address concerns related to the daily impact of their symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Although no participants reported a seamless transition to college, they did identify several school-based services and outside supports that helped facilitate the process. These services included individualized transition plans, access to mental health services in and out of school, access to informal emotional support from school staff, and sometimes relying on family members as an additional resource throughout the process. Even when they were able to access these components during transition planning, participants noted that their internalizing symptoms continued to negatively affect their functioning as young adults. In addition, lack of access to quality mental health care in young adulthood emerged as a salient concern for participants.


College, High School, Internalizing Disorder, Postsecondary, Transition Planning


x, 144 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 134-144).


Copyright 2012 Hollie Alexis McClintick-Greene