Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

David Festinger, PhD

Third Advisor

Michael Becker, DO, MS, FACOFP


The purpose of the current study was to explore the type and frequency of engagement in low to high-risk behaviors in adolescents with cardiac channelopathies. Additionally, predictive factors of engagement in developmentally typical behaviors were explored. Individuals ages 13-22 (female = 84.6%; average age = 19.53) with cardiac channelopathies (n = 10) and without any chronic health conditions (n = 4) completed a series of questionnaires examining self-reported quality of life, illness perceptions, problem solving, and risk-taking behaviors. Findings demonstrated that adolescents with cardiac conditions believe that their conditions are controllable, and they experience a moderate amount of medically-related symptoms. Adolescents with and without cardiac channelopathies self-reported similar levels of quality of life. Adolescents with cardiac channelopathies had significantly better overall social problem solving skills than the control condition; in addition, they had better problem identification, solution evaluation, and reorganization skills than participants without cardiac channelopathies. Whether certain factors are predictive of engagement in risk-taking behaviors was unable to be examined, due to small sample size. There were no differences in risk-taking behaviors between participants with and those without cardiac channelopathies. However, participants with cardiac channelopathies self-reported engagement in behaviors that can impact their health. Future studies should continue to examine risk-taking within this medical population and identify variables that are predictive of risk-taking.

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