Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Spina bifida is a complex condition that presents multiple physical and psychosocial challenges to autonomy development. Pediatric psychology may play a role in promoting autonomy development in this population through the implementation of empirically-supported, developmentally-appropriate, and syndrome-specific interventions. The current study was one attempt to meet the need for such interventions.

This study represents one step in a line of intervention research designed to promote autonomy gains among young people with spina bifida. Its purpose was to evaluate a manual-based curriculum as a part of a one-week long overnight camp exclusively for young people with spina bifida. It was hypothesized that campers would show improvements according to broad-based measures of healthcare autonomy and psychosocial functioning, and make progress toward individual healthcare and social goals. Outcomes were measured using questionnaires administered to campers and parents at three time points, and hypotheses were tested using both variable- and person-centered analyses.

Although significant results were not detected in terms of overall healthcare or psychosocial functioning, significant findings were found with regard to individual healthcare and social goals. Taken together, findings suggest that modest outcome measures may be best-suited to the evaluation of small-scale, time-limited interventions. In order to maximize benefit from such interventions, future programs should aim to move toward more systemic, group-focused curricula.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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