Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)




Matthew Fearrington


In the United States, approximately 9 million informal caregivers, such as family and friends, assist other adults with essential activities, and more than 20 million adult Americans in the United States suffer from some level of chronic kidney disease. Research on the burden and satisfaction of caregivers of dialysis patients has focused on patients and caregivers who have been dealing with long-term kidney disease; however, this study addressed patients and their caregivers who were first transitioning from wellness to illness. The main intent of this study was to identify the coping mechanisms of effective caregivers at this point in time. The theoretical framework for this study was Lazarus and Folkman’s theory of cognitive appraisal, which focused on emotions and how an individual appraises a situation. A total of 128 caregivers completed the survey. A multiple regression analysis, with backward elimination method was used. Results of multiple linear regression analysis showed that the coping skills of being optimistic and emotive manifested by caregivers during the transition from wellness to illness of patients with end-stage renal disease significantly positively predict scores on the physical health domain, as well as the coping skill of being emotive on the psychological domain, and the coping skill of being optimistic on the environment domain. Identifying caregiver coping mechanisms during the initial transition from wellness to illness could contribute to future therapeutic techniques for caregivers; it could also contribute to positive social change in terms of government legislation for caregivers of kidney dialysis patients and in the global community for caregivers of kidney dialysis patients