Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Bradley Olson

Second Advisor

Kristen M Newberry

Third Advisor

Judah Viola


The purpose of this study was to understand the pervasive impacts of autoimmune thyroiditis, specifically Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease. To accomplish this, the life story methodology was utilized to gather individual experiences from 11 participants diagnosed with Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease. The participants completed a background and general health questionnaire and 45- to-100-minute virtual interview disclosing their journey from the onset of symptoms, through diagnosis, to their most recent state. Themes were compiled from the interviews, which allowed identification of the largest areas of impact, needs, and future implications for practitioners and providers. Major themes identified were decreased quality of life, a lifelong medical/physical diagnosis requiring treatment, comorbid psychological implications, decreased executive functioning, as well as social, work, and/or academic, and financial impacts. There are many deficits in Western medicine, specifically needs for more accurate diagnostic measures and more immediate forms of intervention. Feedback was provided from participants regarding areas of improvement for providers, including providing better education to patients regarding their diagnosis and forms of treatment, not making assumptions, and asking more questions to get a better understanding.