Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon M. Suldo, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Shaunessy, Ph.D.


psychopathology, academic achievement, high-achieving students, school functioning, social-emotional functioning


This study investigated the mental health of high school students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) High School Diploma Program (n =139) in a large, southeastern high school. Mental health was assessed using both positive indicators (life satisfaction, academic achievement, academic self-efficacy) and negative indicators (psychopathology) indicators of adolescent social-emotional and school functioning. Findings from this study include that IB students perceive more stress than their general education peers, yet maintain mental health that is equivalent or superior to that of their general education peers. The role of coping in predicting mental health outcomes in IB students was also investigated. Findings indicate that specific coping styles are differentially related to mental health outcomes in this sub-population of adolescents. Furthermore, coping styles moderate the influence of stress on global life satisfaction and internalizing psychopathology. These findings suggest that participation in the academically rigorous and time-intensive IB program is not harmful to the mental health of high school students, and in fact may be beneficial, as evidenced by the superior academic functioning of students in the IB program.