Date of Award

8-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Kimberly R. Zlomke, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Abstract

Caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) report high levels of caregiver stress and burden, poor health outcomes, and low quality of life. Resourcefulness, a collection of cognitive-behavioral skills, has been identified as a protective factor associated with more adaptive functioning and greater life satisfaction among diverse caregiver samples which may further impact caregiver well-being. Little research has focused on the role of resourcefulness on caregiver stress and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Further, no studies to date have evaluated caregivers of children with ASD through real-time data using mobile ecological momentary assessment (mEMA). The current study addresses the gap in the literature by examining caregiver perceptions of engaging mEMA, evaluating interrelationships among constructs related to resourcefulness, and assessing the impact of daily caregiver experiences of stress, sleep, or resourcefulness contributing to caregiver HRQOL. A sample of 52 caregivers of children with ASD completed three phases of data collection. Caregivers completed baseline measures and attended a 1-hour pre-mEMA baseline virtual session which included a mEMA demonstration of daily surveys and a socio-demographic interview. Using mEMA, caregivers completed 14-days of data collection based on six cellular prompts throughout the day to assess social context and resources, health, sleep, mood, stress, and recent interactions with the child. Following daily data collection, caregivers completed debriefing measures and attended an exit interview to provide qualitative feedback on participation. Results support the use of mEMA among caregivers of children with ASD based on results of low burden, high ratings of acceptability and use, and overall caregiver survey completion rates within the range of previous research. Results from the current study add to existing literature by emphasizing the importance of caregiver assessment of experiences throughout the day as caregiver sleep and stress significantly related to caregiver HRQOL across days. Findings may inform the development of prevention strategies, interventions, or additional technological tools to facilitate improving quality of life for caregivers of children with ASD.

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