Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Tami Thomas

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ora Strickland

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Barbara Thomlison

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Carmen Caicedo

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Hispanics, Parents, Disabled Children

Date of Defense



The purpose of this correlational study is to investigate the impact of the child’s functional status, family context, parent acculturation, and social support on parenting stress and, ultimately, on parents physical and mental health. A convenience sample of 50 Hispanic parents was recruited through a Facebook page and from agencies in South Florida providing services to children with disabilities and their families. The parents ages range from 21 to 62 years and the majority were mothers (n= 45). The majority of parents in this study live in low income households, have no college education, showed little participation in the workforce, and low acculturation. There were 30 boys and 20 girls between the ages of three to 21 years. Parents provided the data during an interview and through questionnaires. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and correlation analyses. Correlation analyses were conducted with the child’s characteristics, family context, socioeconomic status, parent acculturation, social support, parenting stress, and parent’s physical and mental health. The most frequent health problem reported by parents was neck and back pain. Parenting stress had a positive correlation with low acculturation and depression. The parents’ physical and mental health had a positive correlation with parents’ perception of social support. Parenting stress had a negative correlation with perceived social support, parents’ mental health, educational achievement and years lived in the U.S. There was a negative correlation between parent depression, perceived social support, and parents’ physical health. These parents reported low perceived social support and high levels of parenting stress. The results of this study indicate that parents with low acculturation reported higher level of parenting stress. Future research ought to continue exploring which interventions will better serve these parents and how cultural constructs influence their attitudes, expectations, decision making, and priorities.





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