This qualitative study explores how adolescents experience transition when they return to school after an acute mental health hospitalization. For this study, the term transition is used to describe the process of adjusting to the return from an acute mental health hospital to school. Eight adolescents from southern Minnesota, ages 15-17, were interviewed about their transition experience for this study. Each participant had experienced an acute hospitalization within 12 months of their interview. Each participant interview was recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using phenomenological research methods. For each participant, an individual textural description, structural description, and textural/structural description was provided through analysis. After individual analysis was provided for each participant, a composite description was written providing three emergent themes: academic aspects (schoolwork, stress related to schoolwork, school staff support, having a plan, accommodations), social aspects (worried about others, bullying and rumors, peer support), and personal aspects (personal growth and development, positive thoughts and feelings, reflections on mental health, ongoing mental health concerns). In the Conclusion chapter, discussion, significance of study, limitations, implications, and recommendations for future study are provided. This study particularly recognized the impact support from school staff, peers, and family can make on an adolescent's transition to school.


Walter Roberts Jr.

Committee Member

Richard Auger

Committee Member

Karin Lindstrom Bremer

Committee Member

John Seymour

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Student Personnel



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License