Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Cheryl Duckworth

Second Advisor

Alexia Georgakopolous

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


The educational research literature confirms that students identified with emotional and/or behavioral disabilities are the most at-risk for school failure, grade retention, and dropout of all student groups. Legislation passed by federal and state entities seeks to support these and all students with recommendations for emotional, behavioral, and academic tiers of intensified supports; yet with dwindling funding and resources, these well-intentioned mandates often go unmet. Using archived records of 16 students in one Florida school district that were eventually placed into Self-Contained Emotional/Behavioral Disability classrooms, this dissertation examined existing trends in the match of intervention to student need, patterns in the etiology of conflict behavior, and practices for helping students to develop new skills for effectively resolving conflict. By means of constructivist grounded theory methodology, this qualitative research study uncovered trends in student intervention reflective of current behavior intervention and conflict analysis and resolution literature. Disability theory, as it applies to the marginalization and stigmatization of persons with disabilities and those with suspected disabilities, served as the lens through which this topic was examined. This dissertation provides recommendations for further research, considerations for intensifying student support best matched to student need, and a greater focus on understanding the impact of conflict on students with behavioral disabilities.