Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2022

Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Marie LeJeune

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks

Abstract

This thesis provides an understanding of pediatric anxiety and provides a tool for students to learn about their emotions and how to regulate them. In early stages of adolescence, the effects of mental illness may have already begun to take effect or are beginning to develop. As a child goes through their early life without learning how to express and handle emotions in a healthy way, these effects can worsen. It has been shown that children greatly benefit from social and emotional learning in school as well as learning about mental illnesses early on to develop tools to monitor and aid in the regulation of emotions. As a child, I suffered from an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, and I would have benefited greatly from learning about emotions and knowing that the way I felt was manageable and not something to be pushed to the side. I created this book with children like me in mind, who think that it is “normal” to be nervous and scared all of the time and have no idea what to do with their overwhelming emotions. In my project, I will navigate the understandings of adolescent mental health and use this understanding to author and illustrate a children’s picture book centered around a little girl learning how to handle her generalized anxiety disorder through discovering tools and language to manage the symptoms she experiences. The completed book functions effectively in and out of a classroom as a tool for children to understand anxiety. This project also includes a reflection on the process of creating this book and the contextualization of this book in the genre of pediatric mental health issues and children’s literature.

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