FACTORS INFLUENCING THE COPING EFFORT OF PARENTS OF HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN (UNCERTAINTY, SITUATIONAL CONTROL, ANXIETY, ADAPTATION, PREDICTABILITY).
AuthorSCHEPP, KAREN GULSETH.
Parents -- psychology
AdvisorHinshaw, Ada Sue
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of three factors, the expectation of events, situational control and situational anxiety, on the coping effort of parents of acutely ill hospitalized children. A secondary purpose was to determine the influence of the parents' locus of control orientation on the parents' coping effort. Coping effort was defined as the amount of behavior, both action oriented and intrapsychic, employed by parents to master, tolerate, reduce or minimize stressful events encountered during their child's hospitalization. The study utilized a mathematical correlational design with a causal modeling approach to assess a four-stage theory. The convenience sample selected for the study was 45 Anglo mothers of acutely ill hospitalized children between the ages of one and 24 months. A four-scale instrument based on magnitude estimation measurement strategy was constructed to index the theoretical concepts. Reliability, validity and cross modality matching were conducted to estimate the psychometric properties of the instrument. The theory was estimated using correlational and multiple regression statistical techniques. Residual analysis was conducted to estimate violations of the causal model and statistical assumptions. Expectation of events showed a direct effect on situational anxiety (R² = .35) and thus, an indirect impact on parental coping effort. Situational anxiety had a strong, direct, positive influence on coping effort (R² = .97). Situational control did not significantly influence the parents' coping effort directly nor indirectly and was not influenced by the expectation of events. The impact of the parents' locus of control orientation on their coping effort could not be determined since the locus of control index was found to be psychometrically inadequate for this sample. Parents who knew what events to expect experienced less anxiety and, as a result, expended less effort to cope with the stresses of their child's hospital experience. By knowing what factors influence the parents' coping effort, the pediatric nurse is able to manipulate the parents' hospital experience to provide as therapeutic an environment for the child and the parents as possible.