Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. Alan Leschied


This qualitative study examined parents’ perceptions of a residential mental health treatment facility in terms of the apparent impact their child’s stay had on the family’s health and well-being and on the focal child’s behavioral and emotional functioning. This thesis provides insight into how caregivers experience life with a child who has severe behavioral and emotional difficulties. Data from eight families were categorized into themes based on parent’s responses to a semi-structured question format. Results indicate that regardless of whether the child who was discharged from the residential treatment program had positive treatment gains or poor treatment gains, parents unilaterally viewed the intensive short-term treatment as an extremely valuable service that should continue in the future. Parents attributed the positive experience at the treatment facility and their child’s treatment outcome, in part, due to the personal qualities of the workers at the treatment facility, as well as the highly consistent and structured nature of the facility. Recommendations parents offered in order to improve residential services included a reduced wait-list period, services available to children at younger ages, more parental education regarding effective child management strategies and increased support for caregivers.



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