Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Barbara Myers


The present study used quantitative and qualitative methodology to examine mothers’ hope and worry. Participants were recruited via autism and Down syndrome organizations. Two hundred fifty-nine mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders (n = 199) and Down syndrome (n = 60) responded to the online questionnaire. Most mothers were white (n = 230); eighty-seven percent were married and their average age was 39.06 years. Findings support previous research suggesting that hope is a protective factor against psychological distress: mothers with higher hope reported lower dispositional worry. Mothers were asked to describe what they worried about when they woke up at night; a thematic analysis of their responses resulted in identification of a number of self-focused and child and family-focused concerns. Results suggest that maternal level of education as well as child’s age, diagnosis and severity of impairment may impact mother’s level of hope and worry.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons