Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl Somers


The purpose of this study was to compare two groups of parents whose children participated in ABA on their levels of stress, self-efficacy, treatment acceptability, and parents’ level of involvement in their children’s treatment, and to assess variables that may explain variance in parent involvement. Parents in the treatment group participated in a voluntary parent training (n=18) and the comparison group were parents who elected not to participate in the voluntary training (n=22). This was a quasi-experimental design study where parents and their therapists completed a survey regarding parents’ involvement in their children’s treatment programs. Additional parent measures collected as part of the children’s treatment were also reviewed to assess changes in parent stress, self-efficacy, and treatment acceptability.

A major finding in this study was that there were significant improvements in both parent self-efficacy and treatment acceptability in the treatment group. However, when comparing the differences in gains between the groups, the average gains of the treatment group were not significantly different than those of the comparison group. Findings also indicated that the treatment group was rated as having significantly higher levels of involvement by the therapists, but not by the parents themselves.

Multiple regression analyses assessing the relationship between parent involvement and 1) parent stress, 2) self-efficacy, and 3) treatment acceptability did not indicate significant results when retrospective data from the client files were used to measure parent stress, self-efficacy, and treatment acceptability. However, a follow up regression analysis, using additional measures, was able to explain 49% of variance in parent involvement. These results suggest that the levels of parent stress, self-efficacy, and treatment acceptability may be important constructs to consider when attempting to improve parent involvement.

Results of a hierarchical regression analysis suggested that parent training explained variance in parent involvement above and beyond what was already explained by parent stress, self-efficacy, and treatment acceptability. Further results indicated that variance explained in parent involvement by parent training was dependent on self-efficacy. This indicated that there was some benefit to the parent training in regards to parent involvement and that self-efficacy was a major contributor to the relationship between parent training and parent involvement. Meaning and significance of results, in light of limitations such as small sample size, are discussed.