Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate whether empowering teachers and students with adaptive strategies and learned optimism reversed a learned helpless condition. In this researcher’s development of the Learned Empowerment Practices (LEP), three concepts were utilized: cognitive therapy, learning theories, and metacognition. The LEP utilized Seligman’s cognitive approach, Adversity, Belief, Consequences, Disputation, and Energization (ABCDE model), which was implemented in the Penn Prevention Program (PPP). The ABCDE model in the PPP reduced the effects of pessimism, depression, and learned helplessness. Learning theorists and their theories adopted in this LEP study were Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development and Piaget’s Schema theory - assimilation and accommodation. Metacognitive scaffolding tools were taught so that students could become independent scholastic decision makers. The combination of these concepts and socio-psycholinguistic reading inquiry were implemented in a learned helpless intervention study of third-grade Title 1 reading students. The researcher concluded that the LEP intervention strategies reduced the disabling nature of learned helplessness, helped students reach the point of recoverable awareness, and built a resistance to a learned helpless state.


Committee Chair

Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1999 Mark C. Anton


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