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

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Urszula Strawinska

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


at-risk students, conflict management, conflict resolution, high need schools, positive interventions, program facilitators


Student misconduct leading to youth violence has been recognized as a major public health problem requiring intervention. To reduce antisocial behaviors, school districts and non-profit organizations promote prosocial behaviors and problem-solving skills. Positive youth development, social emotional learning, positive behavioral intervention support, and conflict resolution programs have been implemented in many school districts; yet problems associated with aggression, poor decision-making, and low student achievement still occur. This Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis study explored the lived experiences of seven school-embedded positive intervention program facilitators implementing programs with conflict management components for at-risk students in high need South Florida schools. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain lived experiences of the facilitators delivering programs with conflict management components and their perspective of student conflict management skill transformation after being enrolled in their program. The major themes developed in this study were (a) commitment to identifying and addressing barriers and needs, (b) hard work, perseverance, and patience, (c) counteracting negative school climate, (d) recognizing impact of risk factors, (e) rewarding experience, and (f) produced positive student outcomes. Analysis of the data showed site coordinators felt the reward of producing positive student outcomes outweighs their negative experiences. The findings of this study should provide valuable data for program facilitators, education stakeholders, community stakeholders, and conflict practitioners vested in reducing problematic behaviors and conflict management skills of at-risk students.