Date of Award

Winter 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Danica G. Hays

Committee Member

Tim Grothaus

Committee Member

Tammi M. Milliken


Residential mental health treatment for children as an intervention for children is increasing, potentially affecting the relationship within families. The purpose of this study was to examine the parental perspectives of the associations between the parent-child relationship and children's residential mental health treatment. This study explored parental perspectives of specific aspects of the parent-child relationship: parental support, satisfaction with parenting, parental involvement, communication, and limit setting-and the association between these aspects and the child's residential mental health treatment. Paired samples t-tests were conducted; resulting in statistically significant changes on all scales measured, with varying effect sizes. Results indicated parents perceived significantly less discord in the parent-child relationship and significantly greater levels of support, satisfaction with parenting, involvement, positive communication, and limit setting in the parent-child relationship after the child participated in treatment, as compared to before the child participated in treatment. Further, the lived experience of a parent having a child participating in residential mental health treatment was investigated through a focus group interview. The themes that emerged from the data were: Parental Involvement, Help for the Family, and Help for the Child.