Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Jacquelyn Mosley

Committee Member

Betsy Garrison

Second Committee Member

Weiyi Ma


Child Life;Child Life Professionals;Child Studies;Cultural Competence


There is an ever-growing need for individuals to work towards cultural competence, especially when those individuals work in healthcare. As healthcare professionals with backgrounds in child development and who provide emotional and psychological support to diverse pediatric patient populations in a variety of different sectors, child life specialists (CLS) and Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) have an even greater need for understanding cultural competence (Thompson, 2009). The purpose of the current study was to examine the cultural competency levels of CCLSs, the type of cultural competence professional development units (PDUs) they participate in, and their perspectives on cultural competence in child life through survey research. The hypothesis was that the greater number of PDUs related to cultural competence that a CCLS completes, the more culturally competent that individual will be. A total of 97 CCLSs participated in an online survey that asked questions regarding their background, level of cultural competence, as well as the types of Professional Development Units (PDUs) that they have completed that focus on cultural competence or related topics. A significant positive correlation between the number of cultural competence PDUs and interaction engagement subscale of the ISS, indicating that CCLS participants who reported higher cultural competence PDUs also indicated higher reports of engaging with people of different cultures was found. The study also worked to further research on cultural competence within the field of child life as well as explore the connections between certain demographics and levels of cultural competence.