Date of Submission

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Stephanie H Felgoise, PhD, ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Susan M Panichelli Mindel, PhD

Third Advisor

Victoria L Vetter, MD, MPH

Abstract

Living with a chronic medical condition in childhood and adolescence requires many critical lifestyle changes and restrictions, which may compromise psychosocial development. Social problem-solving skills have been shown to enhance the ability to cope with both minor and major daily stressors and to minimize psychological problems associated with physical health problems. The research is part of a larger study with children with long QT syndrome (LQTS) and their parents; the present study focuses on the children. This study was developed to examine the feasibility and efficacy of a problem-solving workshop to increase problem solving, self-efficacy, coping, and locus of control in children with LQTS. Participants were two parent-child dyads. Parents participated to learn problem-solving skills and coach their children in learning these skills. There was very good agreement (ĸ = 0.986) among the independent raters regarding the extent to which the protocol was implemented as intended. Overall evaluations of the workshop by participants were positive, and the workshop was deemed both feasible and effective. Child participants had overall increases in problem-solving skills and maintained these improvements throughout follow-up. They also had increases in coping abilities at 1-month follow-up, but scores returned to baseline at the 3-month follow-up. Although there was a slight increase in locus of control, self-efficacy scores fluctuated from baseline to the 3-month follow-up. The inclusion of parents in the workshop is believed to have helped facilitate children’s short-term gains on outcome measures. Continual support and review of problem-solving skills may be necessary to facilitate long-term gains in problem-solving, coping, and adaptive skills in children.