Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Jones (Director), Dr. Carl Myers, Dr. Frederick Grieve

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


This project developed a model to account for an obesity outcome in children who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and whose parents have posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) or PTSD. A literature review provided the basis for the model and covered the areas of childhood obesity, parental PTSS, childhood PTSD, adverse childhood experiences, relational PTSD, ineffective parent support, and the stress response. A model to explain the outcome of obesity in children with PTSD as mediated by parental support provided after a traumatic event was developed: The Parental PTSSChildhood Obesity Model. The literature review supports a relational perspective for viewing child outcomes from trauma. When the relational perspective is applied to parents who themselves are experiencing PTSS, several parent response patterns were supported. These response patterns are considered to detrimentally impact the parent’s ability to provide an environment that is safe, predictable and responsive. Therefore the parent experiencing PTSS will evidence less effective parenting. Thus the child’s environment will be more stressful, increase the child’s symptomology and promote ineffective coping skills resulting in obesity. The strengths, limitations, and contributions of the model are discussed, as well as recommendations made for further research.


Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Health Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology