Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Kimberly Hills


The present study examined the association between various child characteristics and maternal mental health concerns in three high-risk groups of mothers ± those of children with non-syndromic autism spectrum disorder (NSASD), mothers of children with fragile X syndrome (FXS), and mothers of children with fragile X syndrome and autism (FXS+ASD). Research has shown that mothers of children with NSASD and FXS are thought to share a degree of genetic vulnerability to mental health concerns it is key to examine the various other factors that may contribute to difficulties within the family system and maternal stress, depression, and anxiety.

Participants for the present study were part of a larger study (RO1MH107573) and included 31 mothers of children with NSASD, FXS-only, FXS+ASD. A secondary sample of 11 mothers of children considered to be typically developing (TD) were selected to act as a normative control group. Results indicated that mothers of children considered to be TD experienced the lowest level of mental health concern, while those with ASD and FXS+ASD experienced the highest levels. Results further indicated that while child IQ proxy, autism severity, and child problem behavior were not independently predictive of maternal mental health concerns, these factors compound and significantly influence variance in mental health concerns. Limitations of the study and potential implications are discussed.


© 2022, Tiffany Nicole Worley

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