Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Kara McGoey

Committee Member

James Schreiber

Committee Member

Mary Denison

Committee Member

Elizabeth McCallum


adaptive behavior, Intellectual Dissability, parent stress


Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between child functioning, problematic child behaviors, and parental stress. However, previous research has not fully examined variables of parental stress across adaptive behavior and the lifespan span of a child with MR/ID. The present study investigated parental stress differences among children's adaptive behavior and childhood life stages, according to the family life cycle theory. Stress was examined in parents of a child with a disability whose age fell in the life cycle stages of preschool, school age, or adolescence. Results indicated that parents of preschool and school age children with disabilities (M =31.17, SD =3.01) on average do not have as many different stress levels (low, middle, and high) as the adolescence life stage group (M =31.58, SD =3.70). Additionally, most parents in the sample had children whose adaptive scores were extremely low across adaptive behavior domains; however, the social domain presented the most variability. In the adolescence life stage, the linear combination of adaptive behavior was significantly related to the parent stress measure. The conceptual and the social domain of the ABAS-II respectfully contributed the most to parental stress. Deficits in the practical domain did not appear to impact stress. Additionally, the present study provided further interpretation through a content analysis of a case interview question on stress.