Coping resources and cognitive functioning as predictors of child psychotherapy outcome
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This dissertation explores the role of coping resources in predicting child psychotherapy outcome in a community mental health center. Coping resources are a set of physical, social, and psychological resources that help an individual to manage daily life demands and include characteristics of the functional intelligence needed for everyday living. Transactional models of stress have provided a framework for understanding the process between coping resources and stress/demands that take into account one’s personal appraisal of internal resources and external demands. This perspective has been particularly useful in research investigating outcomes of stressful events in relation to children and in a variety of domains, such as medicine, divorce, and academia. Although no research available investigates coping resources as a predictor of child psychotherapy outcome, much research has focused on determining the efficacy of child psychotherapy with little evidence of clear predictor variables. In an attempt to understand child psychotherapy outcome and coping resources, the role of the family, namely the parents, must be considered, as family factors are well established contributors to a child’s functioning. To this date, research that has focused on treatment outcome variables has, to a large extent, been conducted using inpatient populations. Therefore, using a sample drawn from an outpatient population, such as a community mental health center, is warranted. Due to these deficits in the child psychotherapy outcome literature, the primary focus of this proposed study is exploratory in nature. This study examines the role of three potential predictor variables (participant coping resources, participant’s cognitive functioning, and parental coping resources) of child and adolescent psychotherapy outcome in a southwestern community mental health population. Outcome is measured behaviorally and is based on self report of the participant, parent report of participant behavior, and clinician report of participant behavior. Multiple regression analyses are employed using global scores from coping resources, behavioral outcome, and cognitive functioning instruments. Paired comparisons of pretest and posttest measures to address differences in means are computed. Results, implications, and limitations of the study as well as future directions are discussed.