The Power of Positivity: Predictors of Relationship Satisfaction for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Naomi V. Ekas, Lisa Timmons, Megan Pruitt, Christine Ghilain, Michael Alessandri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


The current study uses the actor-partner interdependence model to examine the predictors of relationship satisfaction for mothers and fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Sixty-seven couples completed measures of optimism, benefit finding, coping strategies, social support, and relationship satisfaction. Results indicated that parent’s positive strengths predicted better personal relationship satisfaction. Moreover, parents’ benefit finding, use of emotional support, and perceived social support from their partner also predicted their partner’s relationship satisfaction. The results of this study highlight the importance of focusing on positive factors that can enhance relationship quality. Implications for the development of parent-focused interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1997-2007
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 19 2015



  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Benefit finding
  • Coping
  • Dyadic data analysis
  • Mothers and fathers
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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