Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Renee Galliher


This study was designed to further understand the psychosocial functioning of youth with chronic health conditions or physical disabilities, their need for and use of mental health services, and possible barriers to receiving needed services. Previous research has suggested these youth experience poorer psychosocial functioning compared

to peers without special health care needs, and they also underutilize needed mental health services. A mixed-methods design was implemented consisting of a quantitative parent survey and a qualitative semistructured interview with young adults with special

health care needs.

Children demonstrating poorer psychosocial adjustment in this study experienced more problems related to social functioning than psychopathology (e.g., depression, anxiety). Over half of the youth had accessed mental health services with the majority utilizing community-based outpatient services. Identified barriers to accessing needed mental health services included difficulty finding professionals with experience in working with youth with special health care needs and lack of financial coverage.

Included in

Psychology Commons