Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Human Development, Family Sciences and Rural Sociology


Timby, Donia

Committee Member/Reader

Mosley, Jacquelyn

Committee Member/Second Reader

Moxley, Shari


Most children spend time in the hospital at some point during their childhood whether it is for a short visit or a long-term stay. Hospitalization can be a very stressful experience for children and their families. Child life specialists work in hospitals to help families navigate hospitalizations and cope with stress. This study aimed to investigate parental perceptions of child life specialists, including parents’ familiarity with their role, recognition of its importance, appreciation for help provided, and the formation of meaningful relationships with child life specialists. A survey was conducted among child life specialists who had worked with children and families in hospital settings, and ninety-one responses were collected. The findings indicate that parents were generally unfamiliar with the role of a child life specialist before entering the hospital. However, after interacting with a child life specialist, parents came to recognize the importance and value of the child life specialists’ role and appreciated the help that they provided for their child and family. Child life specialists also feel that they can form meaningful relationships with the parents they work with. Overall, the study emphasizes the crucial role that child life specialists play in supporting children and families throughout hospitalization.


Child life specialists, child life, parental perceptions, hospital setting