Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Ann Coyne


This study examined the relationship between multiple out-of-home placements and children’s psychosocial functioning. Psychosocial functioning was measured by the number of mental health services recommended to the child by a licensed mental health professional and the number of negative behaviors exhibited by the child as recorded in the caseworkers’ narratives or mental health professional’s report. Independent variables included total number of placements experienced per child and average placement duration. Data were extracted from the administrative database and case files of the State of Nebraska Foster Care Review Board Tracking System (N=443). In addition to the number of out-of-home placements and measures of psychosocial functioning, demographic information, entry-level measures and organizational measures were obtained. To control for the subjectivity of the data, this study examined that information believed to be valid and reliable either based on its simplicity (demographics), because it was required by governmental standards (entry- level factors), or because it was provided by a licensed mental health professional (assessment information). All information was cross-referenced against case narratives. This study utilized multiple hierarchical regression analyses to analyze the data. Results indicated that when controlling for demographic and entry-level factors, children who experienced more out-of-home placements received recommendations for more mental health services and were reported to exhibit more negative behaviors. Average Placement Duration did not account for any additional variance in these two outcomes. The overall findings are consistent with the contention that multiple out-of-home placements have a negative impact on children’s psychosocial functioning.


Master’s Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Psychology University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Brittawni Lee Olson November, 1998