Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Vida L. Tyc, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Scott A. Gustafson, Ph.D., ABPP

Third Advisor

Kimberly N. Sloman, Ph.D., BCBD-A

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor



TITLE: The Relationship Between Parental Trauma History and Perceptions Regarding Their Child’s Healthcare and Utilization of Healthcare Services

Adverse child events (ACEs) have been associated with a number of physical and mental health problems and have also been linked to increased health care utilization. While parents who have an ACE history may tend to seek healthcare services for themselves, limited studies have examined the impact of their trauma history on seeking healthcare services for their child. Healthcare utilization may also depend on the parents’ level of health anxiety, as well as their anxiety about their child’s health status. This study is the first to examine the relationship between parental ACE history, perceptions of their personal health anxiety and health anxiety for their child, and child healthcare utilization in the context of trauma informed care.

A total of 58 parents who experienced at least one ACE and had at least one childanxiety, they reported significantly higher levels of health anxiety for their child. In addition, parents with high levels of parental health anxiety reported higher levels of health anxiety for their child. Parental perception of their child’s health status and parent ratings of health anxiety for their child significantly predicted healthcare utilization for their child. Specifically, parents who perceived their child’s health status to be less optimal and reported greater perceptions of health anxiety for their child had higher healthcare utilization. Additionally, parents who reported utilizing healthcare services for themselves had higher levels of parents’ healthcare utilization for their child. These collective study results should serve to remind healthcare providers to screen for family history of ACEs and to consider parental anxiety about their child’s health which may affect child health outcomes and use of health-based services for their child.


Copyright is held by author.