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Title: Goals of children entering child and adolescent mental health services : agreement with parents and the link between goal orientation, goal motives, anxiety and depression
Author: Swift, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 7936
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis consists of two major sections: a systematic review and an empirical paper. A brief description of each section, along with details of how the sections are linked, will be provided in this introductory chapter. Systematic Review Theoretical standpoints are increasingly implicating goal processes in affective disorders and wellbeing (Johnson, Carver & Fulford, 2010). Goal processes include how an individual orientates their goals or the motives driving goal pursuit. For example, an individual may “want to maintain friendships” (approach orientation) or “not want to lose friendships” (avoidance orientation) because “it is really important to them” (autonomous motivation) or because “they would feel ashamed if they lost friends” (controlled motivation). Research suggests that these aspects of goals have an impact on wellbeing and levels of emotional distress irrespective of the goal content, in this case friendships (Elliot, Sheldon & Church, 1997; Miquelon & Vallerand, 2008). This review uses systematic procedures to establish the current state of empirical research that investigates the relationship between goal processes and emotional distress and wellbeing in children and adolescents. There has been a paucity of research examining this link in children and adolescents. This is despite the potential that such knowledge could contribute to the understanding of the development and maintenance of mental health problems. This understanding is particularly important in children and adolescents due to the advantage of early intervention in treating mental health problems (Keiling et al., 2011). This review is intended for submission to Developmental Review and so is written in accordance with the author guidelines for this journal which broadly follow the American Psychological Association (APA) publication manual (2011). Empirical Paper The second major section of this thesis is an original empirical research project, again interested in the goals of children and adolescents. More specifically, it studies the therapy goals of children attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and the aspects of these goals that may be pertinent in mental health interventions. The study has two main aims which address two important issues relating to children’s therapy goals. Parent-child agreement on presenting problems and goals of therapy is considered a significant factor in engagement and outcome in young people’s therapy (Department of Health, 2004; Cates, Paone, Packman & Margolis, 2006). Therefore, the first broad aim of this study is to assess level of agreement between children and parents for the child’s presenting problems and therapy goals. Next, the study focuses on the children’s goals of therapy to better understand the link between the goal processes, approach and avoidance motivation and goals motives, and anxiety and depression. As the findings of the review suggest, this is an emerging area of research with clear implications for understanding emotional distress in children and adolescents. However, to the author’s knowledge this study is the first to consider the link between goal processes and emotional distress in a clinical sample of children and adolescents. This means that it is well placed to make important clinical implications for clinicians working in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The author intends to submit this paper to Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology and therefore it was written in accordance with the author guidelines for this journal which again follow APA style guidelines. Thesis Overview The thesis as a whole further informs the understanding of the aspects of children’s goals that are particularly pertinent within a clinical setting. That is, characteristics that have been implicated in emotional distress and in therapeutic engagement and outcome, namely level of agreement on goals within parent child-dyads and the association between goal-related processes and emotional distress. As a result, the thesis offers several important clinical implications for clinicians working within child and adolescent mental health services.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral