Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Preston Britner and Jill Popp

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


This study examined the potential usefulness of a continuous rating system for the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview (RDI; Pianta & Marvin, 1992) compared to the already validated dichotomous coding system. Measures of family functioning, parent psychological well-being, and parental coping were also correlated with the continuous rating system. Participants were 116 young children (29 with asthma, 37 with diabetes, and 50 with cancer) and their primary caregivers. Parents were interviewed by a trained researcher and completed well-validated self-report measures of family functioning and parent psychological well-being and coping. Consensus conferencing for classification disagreements was discussed. Differences and similarities among subcategory classifications under the dichotomous coding systems were examined. Results from this study provide support for the use of a continuous rating system. Cases rated near the middle of the continuum were found to be more similar in psychosocial characteristics such as coping and family functioning than cases farther from that point. This finding suggests the possibility that the language in the original coding manual for the RDI needs further clarity.

Major Advisor

JoAnn Robinson