Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy Root

Committee Co-Chair

Christan Coogle

Committee Member

Kim Floyd

Committee Member

Suzanne Hartman


The importance of parents in emotion socialization is highly established among children who are typically developing (Sheffield Morris, Silk, Steinberg, Myers, & Robinson, 2007). Child characteristics, such as child temperament and emotional reactivity, have been found to influence parenting (Bell & Chapman, 1986; Belsky, 1984). However, little is known about the emotion socialization practices of parents of children with special needs and how disability severity may influence these practices. Participants included 68 parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (ages 3-11). Parents reported on three dimensions, using three questionnaires: disability severity via the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, 2nd edition (Sparrow, Cicchetti, & Balla, 2005); emotion socialization practices via the Coping with Children's Negative Emotions Scale (Fabes, Eisenberg, & Bernzweig, 1990); parents' attributions for children's emotional expressions using the Parents' Attributions for Children's Behavior Questionnaire. Using regression, the relationship between autism severity, parents' attributions for children's emotional expressions, and parents' emotion socialization practices was examined. Findings suggest that severity of ASD does not appear to influence parents' use of supportive emotion socialization practices. However, autism severity does influence parents' attributions for children's emotional expressions, with lower autism severity increasing parents' views of their children's negative emotionality as unstable and modifiable. The results of this study have implications for parenting children with ASD, early intervention, and future research in this area.