Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Larry James (Committee Member), Keri Brown Kirschman (Committee Member), Cynthia Sieck (Committee Member), Julie Williams (Committee Chair)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


It is estimated that 10-30% of children in the United States are currently diagnosed with a chronic illness. Due to recent medical advances and increased knowledge of disease maintenance, many of these children will live into adulthood. In addition to physical symptoms of chronic illness, recent attention has been drawn to the psychological effects of chronic illness on children and adolescents. Illustrating this fact, researchers have recently called for increased research on children with chronic illness and disease. One psychological symptom that may be considered is that of stress and its effects on this special population. As a result of their illness and associated implications in outside areas (e.g., social, educational), children with chronic illness are at risk for experiencing increased levels of stress.

Despite the above, there is currently no published programming developed specifically to address stress management in children with medical diagnoses. To address this gap, the Kids Able to Fight Stress Everyday (KAFSE) program is proposed. This is an eight-week program utilizing cognitive-behavioral techniques in a group setting, including psychoeducation, feeling identification, and coping skills, including relaxation techniques. Distinguishable from existing programs is the KAFSE program's inclusion of caregivers providing stress-based education to aid in parent support and collaboration with their youth. Another distinguishable feature is that the KAFSE program addresses a specific problem (i.e., stress) in a population that is often overlooked (i.e., children with medical diagnoses). Recommended behavioral and emotional outcome measurement, both qualitative and quantitative in nature, is highlighted to assess for curriculum efficacy.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons