Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Naomi Wheeler

Second Advisor

Abigail Conley

Third Advisor

Kaprea Johnson

Fourth Advisor

LaRon Scott

Fifth Advisor

Staci Carr


Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience unique parenting demands. Although these parents often report high levels of mental health challenges, such as depression (e.g., Scherer et al., 2019), they also report resilience factors such as family support and hope (e.g., Ekas et al., 2016). The present study investigated a novel construct, family relationship hope, in parents of children with ASD by examining the psychometric properties of the Family Relationship Hope Scale (FRHS), variables associated with family relationship hope and its link with depression. Factor analyses examined the factor structure and model fit of the FRHS. The post-crisis phase of the Double ABCX model (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983) provided a framework to conceptualize possible predictors of family relationship hope, through three steps in a hierarchical linear regression. Finally, a logistic regression analysis examined the likelihood of participants having clinically significant depression (Kroenke et al., 2001).

Findings indicated a single factor structure, good model fit and internal reliability for the FRHS. Increased family support and having an adolescent child with ASD predicted higher family relationship hope, and relationship status and age of diagnosis served as important predictors in the model. Finally, family relationship hope significantly predicted the presence of clinically significant depression in parents of children with ASD. Results of the present study offer implications for counselor educators, mental health counselors, policy, and research that may help enhance the lives of families that include a child with ASD.


© Lindsay Ann Kozachuk

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VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission