Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Diana Morelen

Committee Members

Meredith Ginley, Stacey Williams, Julia Dodd


The Infant and Early Child Mental Health (IECMH) workforce is essential in improving the lives of vulnerable children and families. IECMH practitioners are exposed to challenging emotional experiences which increases their risk of internalizing disorders, burnout, and emotion regulation difficulties, especially in the time of COVID-19. Thus, it is important to identify possible interventions to increase provider wellness in the face of taxing work. The construct of self-care offers a promising area of study as a possible intervention point. However, current operationalizations of self-care have been limited and have emphasized behavioral components rather than cognitive components (e.g., beliefs) pertinent to self-care. This two-part study created and tested the psychometric properties of a novel measure, Self-care Belief and Behavior Questionnaire, in two different samples (e.g., a college sample and IECMH workforce sample). Additionally, this study determined the impact of self-care on professional quality of life and wellbeing outcomes. Exploratory and confirmatory factor results from Study 1 showed that the measure had 3 factors (e.g., self-care behavior, worthiness related to self-care, negative perceptions of self-care) with the first factor of self-care behavior meeting convergent, divergent and concurrent validity standards. These psychometric results were replicated in Study 2 and hierarchical regression results showed that self-care beliefs impact one’s engagement in practicing self-care. Further, self-care behavior impacted professional quality of life and wellbeing for IECMH workers. Self-care is a multi-faceted concept that involves beliefs, thoughts about the self and actual behaviors. Future research should determine the role of organizational support in providing an infrastructure that allows the exploration and education of self-care across system and individual levels.

Document Type

Dissertation - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Available for download on Monday, September 15, 2025