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The role of students’ family background in student guidance processes: A multi-method approach

Schools are expected to provide for an effective guidance policy that meets the specific educational needs of each student (Best, 2007; Cassidy & Bates, 2005). At the same time there is a tendency towards medicalization and standardization of clinical care, in which care becomes dependent on classifying diagnosis and intervention by specialized teams (De Haene, Rober, Adriaenssens, & Verschueren, 2012). The question raises of how adequate care can be guaranteed for minority families (Hindeman, Skibbe, Miller, & Zimmerman, 2010).

This research project studies the healthcare practices in and outside the school, as well as child, family, school variables and variables at a wider social level that relate to this. Specifically, we study the pathways to care within the school and referrals to external assistance or special education.


We use data from three Flemish studies.
- Study 1: Survey data collected in 2011 on guidance policies (characteristics, predictors and relation to the perception of responsibilities and capability by teachers) in primary and secondary education in 248 schools with 3894 teachers, 316 guidance counselors and 204 principals (Struyf, Verschueren, Volvo, and Adriaensens, 2012).
- Study 2: Survey data gathered in 2014 on the use of extra-curricular help in primary and secondary education in 164 schools with 129 guidance counselors, 121 CLB staff and 3452 parents, and nine focus groups with guidance counselors, CLB staff, teachers, extracurricular social workers, parents and pupils (Verschueren, Bodvin, Vervoort, Vander Elst, Teppers, De Haene, & Struyf, 2015).
- study 3: data to be gathered in 2015 on guidance to help within and outside the school in mainstream and special primary and secondary education in 210 schools, by focus group, survey and case study research among parents, teachers, principals, guidance counselors and CLB staff (Struyf, 2014).


Four publications are provided (provisional description):
- Publication 1 (study 2): The effect of child (age, gender, issues ...) and family characteristics (education, income, ethnicity, family size and structure ...) on the use of and experience with extra-curricular help?
- Publication 2 (study 3): Experiences of the involvement of parents in a guidance to care by school staff?
- Publication 3 (study 2 and 3): The effect of child (age, gender, issues ...) and family characteristics (education, income, ethnicity, family size and structure ...) on the way of guidance to care?
- Publication 4 (study 1 and 3): The relationship between ways of guidance to help and school characteristics (level of integrated care, school size ...)?

Date:1 Dec 2014  →  21 Jun 2018
Keywords:social inequality
Disciplines:Biological and physiological psychology, General psychology, Other psychology and cognitive sciences
Project type:PhD project