Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 46 pages) : black and white illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kristin V. Christodulu

Committee Members

Melissa Rinaldi


Autism, Family Quality of Life, Parenting Stress, Autistic children, Children with autism spectrum disorders, Parents of autistic children, Stress (Psychology)

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


The present study examines the influence of child adaptive behavior deficits on parenting stress and family quality of life (FQOL) among a sample of families with children newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study used measures completed by families who were participants in a Parent Education Program designed to teach families about ASD. Parents completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition (Vineland-II; Sparrow, Cicchetti, & Balla, 2005), the Parenting Stress Index Short Form (PSI-4-SF; Abidin, 1995), and The Family Quality of Life Survey (FQOLS; Hoffman, Marquis, Poston, Summers, & Turnbull, 2006). Differences among mothers and fathers in reported stress and family quality of life were examined, and the relative predictability of the Vineland-II subdomains for stress and family quality of life was analyzed using linear multiple regression. Results indicated that child socialization deficits were most predictive of parenting stress levels, and communication deficits accounted for the most variance in family quality of life. Due to the high stress levels reported among families of children with ASD and the potential negative effects of chronic stress, these findings are suggestive of beneficial targets for intervention. Other implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.