Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Ingrid Whitaker

Committee Member

Jeehye Kang

Committee Member

Scott Maggard


There has been a significant amount of research that has studied the ecological conditions that create behavioral problems for children from families that are female headed, in poverty, and live in areas where there is violent crime. There has also been evidence that revealed statistically significant associations between the way teachers perceive students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and their beliefs of the capacity of the children to learn. Studies have also examined how teachers interact with children that are exhibiting behavioral problems that are from low socio-economic status. However, to date there has been no study that has combined these ecological conditions of female headed households, poverty, exposure to violent crime, behavioral problems, and teacher perceptions effects on the way teachers interact with them through reading instructional activities. This thesis uses a three-model analysis that examines this relationship as well as relevant control variables that have been found to be significantly associated with teacher interactions and instructional time. The results indicated that the greater the perception of violent crime the greater amount of time children spend in teacher directed individual reading activities. Also, the results indicated that teachers who responded neutrally to perceived problem behaviors affecting instruction were more likely to spend a greater amount of time with students in teacher directed individual reading activities whose families are female headed, living in poverty, and from communities where violent crime is a big problem. These results indicate that while controlling for relevant control variables violent crime and perception of behavior have a significant effect on the amount of time teachers spend in teacher directed individual reading activities. The findings of violent crime and neutrality concerning problem behavior effects on the amount of time spent in teacher directed individual reading activities are of particular interest for future research.


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