Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Bruce Zahn, Ed.D., ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

Third Advisor

Rosetta C. Biester, Ph.D.


Life Care Plans have been used since the early 70s, primarily to assist in litigation involving catastrophic illness or injury. In the last decade Life Care Plans have become an important component in the field of litigation and rehabilitation. However, to date no studies have explored the impact having a Life Care Plan may have for the family Caregiver. Literature supports the need Caregivers have for detailed and concise information about their loved one's condition, plan of care and future needs. This study investigated the perceived helpfulness of the Life Care Plan to Caregivers. Using a 5-point Likert Scale, Caregivers were asked to rate how helpful 37 different areas contained in a Life Care Plan were to them. The second purpose of the study was to explore coping styles caregivers use in a stressful situation. Relationships between Caregivers and their coping styles were also explored. Seventy Four Caregivers responded to the survey. Caregivers rated all 37 areas at least "fairly helpful" to them. Most helpful to the Caregiver was information regarding the future costs. More than 90 percent of Caregivers responding indicated that they found the Life Care Plan as "very helpful" or "extremely helpful" in understanding the future costs involved. Using the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, several coping styles of Caregivers were explored. It was hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between the Helpfulness scale and the Seeking Social Support Scale, measured by the Ways of Coping Questionnaire. This reached statistical significance at the .001 level. No other hypothesis reached statistical significance.