Examining the Impact of Child Psychologists' Stigmatization of Parents on Treatment Outcomes Through a Developmental Lens


Alana Fryer

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Judith E. Fox

Second Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuña

Third Advisor

Rebecca Howard


Theoretical analysis and synthesis, Case Study, Program evaluation/development, Empirical mixed, Empirical qualitative, Empirical quantitative


The purpose of this paper is to examine how child psychologists' specialized training inhuman development may make them more prone to stigmatize the parents of their young clients. The stigmatization of parents may lead to fewer parents seeking treatment for their children and to poorer treatment outcomes for those who work with a child psychologist. The process of stigmatization is summarized to provide context for the method through which parents receive stigma. A commonly used theory of child development, Erik Erikson's stages of ego development, is outlined to provide background on how child psychologists may interpret and evaluate a child'sdevelopment. Child psychologists' may identify parenting practices that seem to hinder or stunt children's emotional development, which would make the psychologist more aptto stigmatize and isolate parents from the treatment process. To demonstrate the unique ways in which a child psychologist may stigmatize parents of children at different developmental stages two case studies are included. Finally, a theoretical model of treatment is described that may be more inclusive, and less stigmatizing of parents. This model outlines how the parents' concerns about and observations of their children should be validated and reflected in the treatment process. This treatment modality would allow for child psychologists to more actively involve parents in treatment and provide more education and support around their children's unique emotional development needs. Through this treatment model and child psychologists' awareness of and attempts to reduce the stigmatization of parents, treatment outcomes for young clients may improve.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


37 pages

This document is currently not available here.