Date of Graduation
College of Education and Human Services
Learning Sciences and Human Development
Suzanne C. Hartman
Amy Kennedy Root
The transition into a medical setting can be difficult for children under the age of 18. Previous research has identified a child's capacity to construct accurate representations of illness, in addition to the construction and application of adaptive strategies to modify emotional arousal, as significant predictors of successful adjustment to a medical environment. Preexisting research has neglected to investigate the constructs of illness conceptualization and regulatory systems of emotions. Using a sample of 26 pediatric patients and 26 adult informants, the current study explored the complex relationship between emotional regulation and the conceptualization of illness among children, from the ages of three to five, in the management of a hospital setting. Measures of inhibition, attentional shift and inhibitory self-control were significantly and negatively related to general illness conceptualization. In addition, the study investigated the implications of increased exposure to hospitalization on pediatric patients' development of health-related knowledge and strategies to regulate emotional arousal in early childhood. Contrary to prediction, children characterized as experiencing frequent admittances to a medical setting attained significantly higher means scores, reflecting poor aptitude, on measures of attentional shift, emotional control, and flexibility. The present investigation validates the necessity of respective therapeutic models to appropriately intervene for vulnerable, medically fragile populations.
Buck, Sarah E., "The germs inside me: Pediatric patients' conceptualization of illness and regulation of emotions during hospitalization" (2014). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 136.