Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jill Stinson

Committee Members

Stacey Williams, Julia Dodd, Jason Steadman


The present study used a mixed methodology approach to understand factors that predict and promote health related quality of life (HRQOL) for parents of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The first component of the study used quantitative analyses to determine the extent to which study variables predict HRQOL for parents of youth with ASD (N = 365). Findings show that HRQOL is positively impacted by increased total annual household income, increased age of the child with ASD, male gender, and tangible support. HRQOL was negatively impacted by increased age of the parent, increased parental perceptions of burden, and use of maladaptive coping strategies. The second phase of the study incorporated qualitative methodology to describe the lived experience of parents (N = 8). Qualitative interviews solicited perceptions of parents regarding HRQOL. Further, qualitative analyses identified sources of parental support, how parents feel about support from varying professionals, and potential supportive interventions toward which they are amenable but cannot currently access. Directions for future research and implications for improving HRQOL for parents of youth with ASD are discussed. The results of the current study can be used to guide and inform supportive services targeted at parents of youth with ASD to improve their HRQOL.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.