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 Panichelli Mindel, PhD

Third Advisor

Victoria Vetter, MD, MPH

Abstract

Long-QT Syndrome (LQTS) is an inherited cardiac condition that predisposes individuals to cardiac arrhythmias and is a potentially fatal disorder that affects approximately 1 in 2,000 people. The triggers are difficult to avoid and may cause children and their families to make major life changes to avoid scenarios that can precipitate cardiac events. Parent may become more aware of the risks and may be hypervigilant of their child’s surroundings and exposure to potential triggers. Social problem-solving skills have been shown to enhance the ability to cope with both minor and major daily stressors and minimize psychological problems associated with physical health problems (Nezu & Nezu, 2012). This study was part of a larger study that included both children diagnosed with LQTS and their parents. Parents/caregivers participated in a workshop to learn problem-solving skills and coach their children to learn these skills. Results indicated that overall evaluations of the workshop by participants were positive (93.67% satisfaction rating), and the workshop was both feasible and effective. Participants demonstrated overall increases in adaptive problem-solving skills, decreases in maladaptive problem-solving skills, increases in coping abilities and hope, and decreases in worry, which were maintained at 1-month follow-up and 3-month follow-up. Parental inclusion is believed to have helped facilitate children’s short-term gains on outcome measures. Further investigation of utilization of this workshop as a tool to help children and their parents better cope with LQTS-related stressors is needed.