Perception of Well-Being, Predisposition to Optimism, and Quality of Life of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Luana Sorrenti, Jessica Arena, Antonina Viviana Mafodda, Pina Filippello


Background: The purpose of this study is to offer a scientific contribution on the possible role of some individual variables (predisposition to optimism, self-esteem, well-being, and perceived hopelessness) on the quality of life (QoL) perception of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), given the lack of studies that investigate these variables in the Italian context. It was assumed that parents of children with ASD have lower levels of predisposition to optimism, self-esteem, perceived well-being, and QoL and higher levels of hopelessness perception compared to the parents of children with typical development. Furthermore, it was assumed that the QoL perception of parents of children with ASD is positively predicted by their predisposition to optimism, self-esteem, and perceived well-being and negatively by hopelessness.

Method: The sample was composed of 172 parents: 84 parents of children with ASD and 88 parents of typically developing children. For the evaluation of the variables considered, the following instruments were used: Life Orientation Test-revised (LOT-r, Scheier e Carver, 1985; Giannini et al., 2008), PERMA-Profiler (Giangrasso, 2018), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965; Prezza, Trombaccia e Armento, 1997), Hopelessness Depression Symptom Questionnaire (HDSQ - Metalsky e Joiner, 1991), and the Quality of Life in Autism Questionnaire (QoLA – Eapen, 2014).

Results: The results confirmed the hypotheses; in particular, the regression analysis identified optimism together with the PERMA dimensions of realization and happiness as the positive predictors and hopelessness as the negative predictor of QoL.

Conclusion: This study emphasizes the need to deepen the research and, consequently, to structure adequate interventions relative to the individual factors that could play a protective role on the QoL of parents of children with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorders; Parents’ Quality of Life; Well-being; optimism; Self-esteem; Hopelessness.

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