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Date of Award

6-2015

Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work

Department

School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McCaslin, Rosemary

Abstract

Due to the demanding structure of caring for a child with a life-threatening disease (LTD), parents experience psychosocial distress. Studies have shown that stress in parents of children with LTDs can be increased by unmet needs or fragmented care and may be mitigated by coordinated and comprehensive care. Limited literature exists about unmet needs of parents of children with LTDs and the barriers they encounter to accessing mental health resources within pediatric palliative care (PPC) programs. This research study applied quantifiable descriptive methods including a purposive sample of ninety-eight (98) PPC and other pediatric practitioners through the distribution of anonymous online surveys in order to examine unmet needs for mental health resources as they relate to parents of children with LTDs who experience psychological distress exacerbated from psychosocial stressors of care giving. Influenced by Andersen’s predisposing, enabling, and need factors, this study found that PPC practitioners perceived parents encountering waitlists and/or denials when referred to community mental health resources as demonstrating resistance against seeking help.

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