This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effect of Depressotypic Attributions on Marital Satisfaction as Mediated by Spousal Support and Moderated by Length of Marriage in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders




Efstration, Katherine

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) face unique stressors in caring for their child(ren) with a disability which often spill over into other areas of their lives, including their marriages. The present study seeks to better understand how marital satisfaction is related to depressotypic attribution style, spousal support, and length of marriage in mothers of children with an ASD. Spousal support was tested as a mediator of depressotypic attribution style and marital satisfaction. Length of marriage was tested as a moderator between depressotypic attribution style and spousal support as well as between spousal support and marital satisfaction. Mother’s education, family income, outside support, child’s challenging behaviors, and child’s autistic behaviors were controlled for in the analyses. This study is the first of its kind to investigate the role that depressotypic attributions, spousal support, and length of marriage play in mothers of children with ASD. The analytic sample for the study included 110 married mothers of children with ASD from the continental United States. The participants completed self-report measures as well as a demographic questionnaire. These data were collected by Jennifer Lynne Koenig Nelson from 2003-2004. Using path analysis, findings from this study indicate that depressotypic attributions and spousal support predict marital satisfaction in mother’s of children with ASD. Spousal support was found to mediate the relationship between depressotypic attributions and marital satisfaction. A significant moderation by length of marriage was not found in predicting marital satisfaction.