Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark R. McMinn PhD., ABPP

Second Advisor

Antonia Forster PhD., ABPP

Third Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal PhD.


The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) was constructed to measure a person’s knowledge, skill, and confidence for self-managing one’s healthcare, or “activation” (Hibbard, Stockard, Mahoney, & Tusler, 2004). The Student Activation Measure (SAM) extends this definition to secondary education. The SAM is a short, positively worded measure that is intended to guide intervention planning. Six hundred three students from two disparate high schools located in the Pacific Northwest completed the measure and an accompanying demographic questionnaire. The respective schools provided the students’ GPAs and attendance records. Using Rasch modeling, the SAM evidenced excellent reliability and construct validity. One-way ANOVAs with post hoc Scheffe’s tests showed that higher SAM scores had significantly higher GPAs, fewer absences, increased time spent on homework, and less time spent on social media or playing video games. Overall, the SAM showed promise as both a research and intervention tool. In addition, the concept of activation has the added benefits of ease of measurement and bridges the gap between evidence-based practices in medicine and secondary education. Further research is needed to understand the properties of the SAM when used with students diagnosed with learning impairing disorders such as ADHD.