Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Bonnie C. Nicholson

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Eric Dahlen

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Emily Yowell

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Jon T. Mandracchia

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

Parenting stress has been shown to be related to both negative parenting behaviors and child behavior problems in the general population as well as with children with developmental disabilities. With the majority of children with developmental disabilities participating in multiple treatments, little is known about the effect of treatment satisfaction on caregivers. Hope has also been shown to reduce stress in caregivers, yet little research has examined this relationship with respect to parenting stress specifically or in parents with children with developmental disabilities. Treatment satisfaction has also been associated with less parenting stress in other populations; however, no study has examined treatment satisfaction and parenting stress in parents with children with developmental disabilities. This study explored the relationship between parenting stress and parenting behaviors in caregivers of children with developmental disabilities to determine whether hope and treatment satisfaction are good predictors of parenting stress in this population. The current study also explored hope as a moderator in the relationship between parenting stress and parenting behavior while controlling for treatment satisfaction and child behavior problems. Hope and treatment satisfaction significantly predicted parenting stress, but when examined independently, only hope accounted for a significant portion of variance. When examining both positive and negative parenting behaviors, hope and parenting stress each predicted parenting behaviors, but hope did not moderate parenting stress and parenting behaviors as previously thought. A relationship between hope, parenting stress, and parenting behaviors was confirmed for this population, but further analysis is needed to understand how these variables affect each other.

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