Understanding childhood development in the context of health challenges

  • Elaine McCahey

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


Background: Evidence has indicated the psychological impact of pediatric gastrointestinal conditions, however, little is known about the impact of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The objective of this systematic review is to identify the role of child and caregiver psychological factors and the potential link to GERD.

Methods: Four databases (Medline, Psychlnfo, CINHAL and Web of Science) were searched in January 2019. A narrative synthesis was undertaken based on 7 studies (described across 9 papers) and methodological quality was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklists.

Results: Limited research based on small, poorly defined samples and different methods of measurement was found. Emerging evidence suggests that mothers of infants with GERD have an increased likelihood of experiencing maternal distress, and that parents of children with GERD report poorer psychological quality of life, compared to controls.

Conclusion: Recommendations for future research and clinical practice are discussed, including the need for better recognition based on the role of maternal mental health in the management of GERD.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorPauline Adair (Supervisor), Nicola Doherty (Supervisor) & Lesley Storey (Supervisor)


  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • children
  • caregivers
  • parental distress
  • quality of life

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