Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Kate Tresco, PhD

Second Advisor

Virginia Salzer, PhD

Third Advisor

Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD


A private residential school in the northeast United States provides a cost-free coeducation to qualifying pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade students. One of the most important application factors is need, which is measured by a scale for parental availability. For a parent to be considered unavailable, any or all of the following areas could be present: limited physical capacity to effectively parent the child, limited mental capacity to effectively parent the child, active abuse of drugs or alcohol or ongoing substance abuse history, inadequate supervision, chronic neglect, incarceration, death, no contact or sporadic contact (e.g., not on a regular basis or regular contact with months of no contact), or unknown whereabouts. It was hypothesized that lack of parental involvement or availability would lead to decreased rates of graduation of students from low-income families; therefore, children who have both or one of their parents available at the time of admission to the private residential school would be more likely to graduate on time from high school. Archival data were analyzed from a private residential school on students who were accepted and subsequently enrolled in the school between the years of 2003 and 2018 to examine the relationship between the parent availability score (PAS) and high school graduation. The results of this study indicate that there was not a significant association between parental availability and on-time high school graduation rates of students from low-income families attending a private residential school.