Date of Conferral







John Deaton


Parenting children with neurodevelopmental deficits (NDDs) is very stressful, more so than the parenting of typically developing children. There is considerable research on the topic of chronic stress experienced by caregivers; however, less is understood of parental stress experienced when raising children with NDDs. The purpose of this study was to examine how parental traits and habits, in the forms of mindfulness and social support levels, affect this cohort's general stress levels. The study was guided by Self-Determination Theory, which explored how parental acts could be classified along a continuum of being intrinsically or extrinsically derived. A convenience sample of parents (n =71) with a child diagnosed with at least one NDD were recruited from online support groups on Facebook. The participants fully completed the Parental Stress Scale to measure parental stress, the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale to measure trait mindfulness, and the Family Support Scale to quantify social support to the family. Correlation analysis and multilinear regression analysis were used to determine that higher levels of social support and mindfulness in the participants predicted lower levels of perceived parental stress; the model was statistically significant, R²=.284, F(2,68)=13.504.p<.001. As a set, the two predictors accounted for 28.4% of the variation in stress. This study helps to promote positive social change by providing informing data on population-specific research, which can assist in the development of empirically supported treatments that could be used by professionals and paraprofessionals in treatment planning, therapies, and psychoeducational interventions.