Preferred Name

Kelly Atwood

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Anne Stewart

William Whelan

Craig N. Shealy

Cara Meixner

Abstract

This mixed methods study examined foster and adoptive parents’ experience of an attachment-based psychoeducational parent education course. A semi-structured qualitative interview explored parent perceptions of the course content and the impact of the course on parental stress levels, parent-child interactions, and child behavior in a sample of parent participants, after parents completed the 8-week Attachment Security Course. Prior to and following completion of the course parents completed quantitative measures of parenting stress, parent-child interaction, and child behavior. Due to the small sample size, the quantitative results were not interpretable in aggregate form. Emphasis was placed on the qualitative data to gather information about participants’ experience. As the research process progressed a secondary product emerged, a special topics in parenting guide for therapists working from an Attachment Security intervention framework. The results of this study, combined with the literature and clinical experience of providing an Attachment Security course for Veteran parents were used to generate the guide.

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