Using Ecomaps To Assess Social And Emotional Functioning In School-based Universal Screening
This study investigated potential ways in which student-reported stress and support levels, represented by the Ecomap stress-support index (SSI), could inform school-based universal screening efforts. Participants included 260 students in grades K to 3 attending an urban elementary charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the academic year of 2011-2012, for whom specific data relevant to the study's variables were available in school records. Child self-report of stress and support (SSI), measured by the Ecomap, was hypothesized to enhance the prediction of school academic and behavioral outcomes, measured by achievement and behavior reports, beyond teacher report of social emotional functioning and school functioning, as reported on the Behavioral Assessment System for Children: Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) 1. Step-wise regression analyses were conducted. Results indicated that the BESS and Ecomap SSI together predicted variance in behavior reports and academic scores; however, the SSI did not account for significant additional variance. The Ecomap SSI also was hypothesized to explain variances in student self-reports of internalizing difficulties, whereas teacher reports of student functioning on the (BESS) were hypothesized to explain variances in reports of externalizing difficulties. Multiple regression analyses were used to explore this relationship. The Ecomap SSI was found to predict Attention Difficulties reported by students on the Behavioral Assessment System for Children: Self-Report Protocol C (BASC-2, SRP), with higher reports of stress corresponding to higher reports of attention problems. Findings indicate that data on student stress can be useful in the mental health screening process and provide important information that could inform intervention.