Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Kyeonghee Jang

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephanie Hamm

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Sarah McLean


Students who do not complete high school are at risk of higher unemployment, lower wages, and higher incarceration rates. Not only do these impact the individual, but their families and society as well. There are several academic and non-academic factors that can potentially put a student at risk of dropping out of high school. Currently, eligibility criteria for identifying at- risk students, which are used by many Communities in Schools (CIS) Affiliates in Texas that provide a dropout prevention program, are mostly academically based indicators. Incorporating an ecological systems perspective, this study aimed to explore the impact of academic and non-academic factors on various outcome variables related to dropout risks. To do this, a cross-sectional survey was completed in four middle schools and two high schools in a local school district (N=71) with data from the spring of 2018 and the fall of 2018. Multiple regression analyses identified statistically significant school climate factors for dropout ideation, academic outcomes, and behavioral outcomes. The findings show that dropout ideation was associated with more peer risk activities, less student engagement, and participating in less school activities. Students with low student engagement also had lower academic outcomes, and those who had an increase in youth risk behavior had negative behavioral outcomes. A major limitation of this study was sample size. Despite the limitations, overall findings from this study indicate the need for additional eligibility criteria for students considered at risk of dropping out of high school to implement appropriate intervention services at both the individual level and school-wide. Implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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