Students at risk for social, emotional and behavioral concerns (SEBC) are likely to experience a variety of negative outcomes if not identified and provided with appropriate interventions in a timely manner. Males tend to be identified more frequently than females for SEBC (Young, Sabbah, Young, Reiser, & Richardson, 2010), and there are many variables that may contribute to this disproportionate identification. This study specifically examined the influence of student gender on secondary education teachers’ referral decisions for students at risk for SEBC. This study additionally examined the influence of teachers’ prior referral experience, confidence in the mental health services available at their schools, perceived severity of problematic behaviors, and teacher gender as other variables potentially influencing teacher likelihood of referral. A sample of 229 secondary teachers was given vignettes about hypothetical male and female students with internalizing and externalizing concerns followed by a questionnaire. Findings from this study indicate that males with internalizing concerns were the most likely to be referred. Additionally, teachers’ prior referral experiences and their confidence in the mental health services available at their schools influenced their likelihood of making a referral. Results from this study can be used to inform and improve screening and identification processes in secondary settings.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type