Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


McCleon, Tawny E.

Committee Member

Gadke, Daniel L.

Committee Member

Looby, Joan

Committee Member

Wei, Tainlan

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Educational Psychology with a Concentration in School Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School-age children are at high risk of experiencing traumatic and stressful events that can negatively impact their academic, emotional, and behavior performance (Brock et al., 2016). Any stressful situation (i.e., natural disaster) or adverse childhood experience (ACE) can potentially become a traumatic event for a child or adolescent. The current literature indicates that 60% of children experience at least one ACE, putting them at high risk for a variety of health and social problems (Manyema et al., 2018). Natural disasters adversely impact children's life as they have the potential to destroy physical structures and injure the child or family members. According to Inoue and colleagues (2018) natural disasters can additionally be considered as an ACE. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between PTSD symptoms of students who have experienced a natural disaster (e.g., hurricane exposure) and students’ internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Participants included 75 students from elementary, middle, and high school in a school district in the Southeastern United States. Linear regression showed that PTSD symptoms are significantly correlated with internalizing and externalizing behaviors. However, moderation and interaction effects showed that he type of hurricane exposure did not significantly moderate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and students' internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Implications from these results suggest that trauma-informed strategies are needed for students that are exposed to a traumatic event.