Date of Award

Fall 10-28-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Timothy McCarty

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Carlos V. Guzman


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods multiple-case study was to describe how interdisciplinary collaborative teams support the college and career readiness and the mental health wellness of adolescents with emotional disturbance. A secondary purpose was to explore how team members describe and rate the importance of their interdisciplinary collaboration using the four essential elements (reflection, flexibility, newly created roles, and interdependence) based on the model established by Mellin (Mellin et al., 2010). Lastly, this study sought recommendations from team members on improved practices supporting adolescents with emotional disturbance.

Methodology: An explanatory sequential mixed methods multiple-case study design explored the interdisciplinary collaborative team process in three exemplary counseling-enriched programs in California. Quantitative survey data was collected and followed by qualitative interviews. Supporting documentary and archival data was also collected.

Findings: Adolescents with emotional disturbance are supported in college and career by providing differentiated support systems, collaborating with an expanded team of stakeholders, and including student voice and engagement. Their mental health wellness is supported by expanding collaboration with stakeholders, fostering meaningful relationships, creating a safe and inclusive community, and providing coaching and counseling. Interdisciplinary collaboration teams exhibit flexibility in communication, interdependence through real-time communication, reflection and adjustments that are student-centered, and innovate through crossover in roles. Schoolwide wellness is recommended.

Conclusions: Collaboration with stakeholders is critical to supporting both college and career readiness and mental health wellness. Differentiated support systems provide the foundation for a self-sufficient adulthood. It is critical to engage adolescents as partners, and to build meaningful relationships with them. Team members must be flexible, interdependent, reflective, and innovative. Adolescents should be immersed in a schoolwide culture of wellness.

Recommendations: Future qualitative or mixed methods studies exploring other job roles on interdisciplinary teams are recommended. Quantitative comparative or casual studies of student data would add to the research base on outcomes. A longitudinal mixed methods study following adolescents served in exemplary programs from high school to young adulthood would be highly informative.