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Consultation and classroom intervention: Mediation of treatment outcome expectancies

Daniel N Short, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Research suggests that during consultation several factors may influence the successful implementation of interventions. This study specifically addresses the problem of low treatment outcome expectancies and the possible mediation of this variable. The primary question is whether it is possible to achieve greater expectancy for successful outcomes using practical methods. In this study, data were collected in two stages. The first stage incorporated an analogue condition designed to exam the possible influence of numerous factors related to the consultation process. The second set of data were collected in an applied setting while providing case consultation for students identified by their teachers as having significant problems with academic functioning. In this condition, a single variable (priming) was manipulated and then followed by a written measure of outcome expectancies. A comparison of group means between treatment and nontreatment groups indicated a significance difference (t = 2.08, one-tailed test p = .025). Priming the consultee with documentation of intervention effectiveness significantly increased positive outcome expectancies with a large magnitude of effect (g = 1.90; t = 4.23, p < .01). Although an attempt was made to test the relationship between actual outcomes and high expectancy versus low expectancy conditions, follow-up data were too sparse for thorough analysis. Unfortunately, less than a third of the teachers, targeted for follow-up, implemented the intervention. Due to the large amount of research data already supporting the Pygmalion effect, this study was not designed to establish a causal relationship between teacher expectancies and student performance. Instead, this investigation provides empirical support for the use of priming as a mediator of expectancies within the context of the school consultation model for classroom interventions.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Cognitive therapy|Academic guidance counseling

Recommended Citation

Short, Daniel N, "Consultation and classroom intervention: Mediation of treatment outcome expectancies" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978552.