Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Abstract

Problem. Innovative services have been developed over the last 10 years to assist families in coping with the increased demands associated with child rearing. One burgeoning area of resource development has been that of"respite" for parents. A variety of programs and methods have been utilized in providing these services. While families frequently proffer the benefit of these programs, there is a relative paucity of data to substantiate these claims. This study has attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of respite programming using outcome indicators which include both objective and subjective measures. This study focused upon families utilizing a short-term respite program located in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Method. The 70 subjects in this study were 13-17-year-old adolescents who were admitted to the short-term respite program at the LINK located in St. Joseph, Michigan. The parents and adolescents involved in the study voluntarily agreed to participate in structured interviews upon admission, at discharge, and at a 2-week post discharge meeting after receiving respite services. At admission and discharge adolescents were administered the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI).

Results. The results of this study indicated that there was significant improvement in symptom reduction as reported by the adolescent subjects. Statistically significant improvements in symptoms were identified using the Global Severity Index of the Brief Symptom Inventory. The value of respite services reported by parents and adolescents was supported by subjective data obtained at the time of discharge and two-week follow-up.

Conclusions. Families place considerable value in respite services. The results of this study provided objective and subjective data which supports this conclusion. A surprising finding was the benefit of respite in symptom reduction regardless of length of stay. One might expect a greater benefit would be obtained with a prolonged stay. This finding suggests a fairly immediate benefit is obtained through respite as it pertains to overall levels of stress. Data obtained at the time of discharge from adolescent subjects indicated that the most helpful aspects of respite were "getting a break from parents," followed by "problem resolution," and "time to think." Parents at the time of discharge cited "having time to think" as the most valuable aspect of respite followed by "calmer at home."

Subject Area

Teenagers--Michigan--Saint Joseph--Family relationships, Parent and teenager, Teenagers--Counseling of

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