Date of Award

May 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

William H Davies

Committee Members

Bonita P Klein-Tasman, Jessica L Schnell


children with medical complexity, parent coping


Children with medical complexity (CMC) are characterized by intensive healthcare needs. Given the centrality of the relationship between parent and child well-being, an investigation of the experiences of parents who care for CMC is warranted. Parents of CMC experience significant challenges relating to practical matters and their own well-being, but there is a dearth of research examining parental coping strategies used in response to these challenges. Informed by the revised Transactional Model of Coping, the current study aimed to characterize coping among a sample of parents of CMC. Twenty parental caregivers of CMC served by the Complex Care Program at Children’s Wisconsin participated in one-hour semi-structured qualitative interviews regarding stress and coping. Findings suggest the use of a multitude of coping strategies which are primarily emotion-focused and meaning making in nature. Future research is needed to investigate coping strategies more systematically with representative samples to enable the development of culturally informed interventions to support parent and family well-being among those who care for CMC.