Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Bonnie Nicholson, PhD

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Emily Yowell

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Michael Madson

Committee Member 3 School



There is a reciprocal relationship between parenting stress and child distress that has been well documented (e.g., Rechenberg, Grey & Sadler, 2017). These effects generalize to physical outcomes such that higher maternal depression has been associated with poorer child health-related quality of life (HRQOL; Jaser, Whittemore, Ambrosino, Lindemann, & Grey, 2008). In the same way that parental distress has been shown to affect the child, parental perceptions of child vulnerability in children with chronic illness has also been associated with negative outcomes, including child depressive symptoms (Mullins et al., 2004), increased health care use (Spurrier et al., 2000), and increased child anxiety (Anthony, Gil, & Schanberg, 2003). Further, few studies have considered positive variables which may be associated with positive HRQOL. One such factor is grit, or the tenacity to persevere (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007). Given the role that stress may play in HRQOL, and the lack of research exploring correlates which guard against poor outcomes, the current study aimed to examine the mediating role of perceived child vulnerability within the relationship between parental stress, grit, and child HRQOL. A sample of 67 parents of children with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) completed a basic demographic questionnaire, the Parental Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995), the Child Vulnerability Scale (Forsyth, Horwitz, Leventhal, Burger, & Leaf, 1996), the Short Grit Scale (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 (Varni, Seid, & Kurtin, 2001). Child vulnerability did not mediate the relationship between parental stress and HRQOL or grit and HRQOL.