Date of Conferral

2020

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Anthony R. Perry

Abstract

In 2015, over 427,000 children were in foster care and the largest population were in California’s system. Of those children, more than 9,400 were prescribed psychotropic medications. Increases of psychotropic medication use have led to investigations and findings of medication oversights in foster care. Medication oversights included medication nonadherence, which was linked to an increase of problematic behaviors in foster children. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the issues of medication adherence for foster care providers who care for foster children of mild to chronic health concerns who were prescribed medications and experienced multiple placements. By utilizing the health belief model as a guide to formulate the research question and interview questions, an understanding of how the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of foster care providers were impacting proper medication adherence behaviors began to manifest. Data gathered through semistructured interviews of foster care providers were analyzed to code and identify themes. The results of this phenomenological study revealed the perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of foster care providers related to medication adherence behaviors. Multiple barriers to medication adherence for foster children included systemic interferences, limited health information, limited knowledge regarding medications and medication side effects, and child refusal. These findings may be used to create educational trainings, inform policymakers, and develop regulations for medication use in foster care, which could bring about positive change by increasing the potential for better health outcomes for foster children.

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