Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Abell


Children experience changes in multiple levels of their social ecologies when they transition into middle school (Eccles, 1999; Jozefowicz-Simbeni, 2008). These biological, psychological, social, and environmental changes create increased risk for dropout and other factors related to academic adjustment (Cataldi, Laird & KewalRamani, 2009). For low- income minority children these risks can be magnified by environmental and social factors (Ge et al., 2002). Healthy family functioning, including balanced levels of cohesion and flexibility, has been shown to buffer these risks (Burchinal, Roberts, Zeisel & Rowley, 2008; Olson, 2010; Wampler, Munsch, & Adams, 2002) and was targeted by a Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention. The Multiple Family Group Weekend Retreat intervention, adapted from a previous version to address the family support needs of children transitioning to middle school, was tested in a feasibility study as a method for increasing family functioning. 14 families of rising 6th grade students from public schools on the South side of Richmond, VA participated in one of three MFG retreats. The intervention consisted of a series of group components focused on building knowledge and skills in areas of trust, communication, stress and coping, family organization, and family unity. Key evaluation objectives included measuring changes in children’s family functioning and academic adjustment and collecting fidelity data to assess feasibility and further clarify the intervention. No significant outcomes were found between pretest and follow-up.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011

Included in

Social Work Commons