Psychometric properties are described for an inventory that measures the daily rewards and worries that parents experience as their sons and daughters transition to adulthood. In a series of 4 studies involving 847 respondents, we explored and confirmed the factor structure of the Transition Daily Rewards and Worries Questionnaire (TDRWQ) in a sample that included transitioning individuals with and without disabilities. The final questionnaire includes 28 items in 4 factors: Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations. Evidence of acceptable internal and test– retest reliability is presented, as is discriminant and convergent validity. The TDRWQ should enhance the quantitative approach to understanding parental reactions as sons and daughters make the transition to adulthood.
Life transitions can be both rewarding and worrisome as individuals move into novel circumstances and confront the possibility of success and failure, of satisfaction and sorrow. Behavioral scientists have been fascinated with the multiple dimensions of these transitions as well as the varied individual responses to them. Erikson (1963), for example, formulated a view of the lifespan that has as its basis the conflicts or dilemmas that face the individual as he or she confronts transitions created by a combination of normative physical, cognitive, and cultural changes and demands.
In the developmental disabilities field, the transition to adulthood has recently received considerable attention (Certo et al., 2003; Cooney, 2002; Hammer, Holloway, DePrato, & Weiss, 2000; Kim & Turnbull, 2004; Kraemer & Blacher, 2001; Sitlington, Clark, & Kolstoe, 2000). Opportunities for normalized residence, employment, and leisure activities have become more available for individuals with developmental disabilities, making the distinction between childhood and adulthood more pronounced. Moreover, in the United States, educational entitlement ends abruptly on the individual's 22nd birthday, frequently catapulting him or her and the family into a period in which a variety of life issues must be confronted, some immediate and others in the near or more distant future.
The importance of transition to adulthood has been recognized by many organizations. Legislators have mandated that transition plans with stipulated services be provided to all children in an individual education plan—IEP (Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004) by no later than age 16, although many experts recommend beginning transition planning by age 14 or even earlier (Beirne-Smith, Patton, & Kim, 2006). In 2003, a conference of more than three dozen organizations identified transition to adulthood as a priority for establishing national goals. Participants recognized that coincident with these goals was a need for outcome measures that could clearly identify who was doing well and who was not (National Goals, 2003). To date, a variety of assessment techniques have been developed to gauge the success of these plans and services (Gliner & Sample, 1996; McGrew, Johnson, & Bruininks, 1994; Neubert, 2003). Nonetheless, even though one of the pillars of successful transitioning is the participation of the family of the individual with disabilities (Steere, Rose, & Gregory, 1996), the measurement of family reaction has been neither systematic nor quantitatively anchored but, rather, oriented to a qualitative methodology (Ferguson, Ferguson, & Jones, 1988; Goupil, Tassé, Garcin, & Doré, 2002; McIntyre, Kraemer, Blacher, & Simmerman, 2004; Timmons, Whitney-Thomas, McIntyre, Butterworth, & Allen, 2004). Moreover, the few attempts to measure family reaction to transition using quantitative techniques have not been comprehensive. For example, Thorin and Irvin (1992) reported on a sample of 19 families with young adults who had severe developmental disabilities. They were able to rank order the stress reported in a variety of concerns in seven different domains of young adult life. Because of the small sample size and the limited focus on stress to the exclusion of other responses, these data need to be replicated and expanded. More recently, Kraemer and Blacher (2001) focused on parental involvement in the transitions of young adults with severe developmental disabilities. Mothers reported about their worries with regard to three aspects of transition: work, community living, and social opportunities. Mothers were more worried about work than about social opportunities and least worried about future living environments. As with the Thorin and Irvin study, the sample was small, and the results were mostly descriptive.
Keogh, Bernheimer, and Guthrie (2004) reported transition to adulthood data for a sample that they had been following since the preschool years. They reported some of the same concerns from parents as had Thorin and Irvin (1992), and, for the most part, the young adults with mental retardation were financially dependent on their parents and socialized little outside of the family context. As with the earlier research, Keogh et al.'s methodology was primarily personal semi-structured interview, and the results were largely descriptive.
Blacher (2001) recognized the importance of the family perspective when she proposed a conceptual model designed to promote the study of the role of transition success in family well-being. In her model, Blacher posited three sets of factors that influenced family well-being during the transition to adulthood. These factors, Blacher contended, operate either directly on family well-being or indirectly through transition success. The foci of the factors are (a) characteristics of the individual with disabilities, (b) environment and culture, and (c) the degree of involvement of the family with the son/daughter who has developmental disabilities.
Blacher's (2001) model has heuristic value, but needs to be quantified. As she noted, there has been little attention to measuring parental well-being during the process of transition to adulthood. Moreover, many measures of positive or negative well-being, such as subjective well-being and depression, are global and not likely to be differentially sensitive to the specific elements of transition, independent of other ongoing life events. Thus, we believed that there was a need for a measurement instrument that focused specifically on issues related to the transition to adulthood from the parental perspective. Parents remain a primary source of both economic, and sometimes psychological, support during the transition period. They help their sons and daughters negotiate this life change by aiding in resource exploration, encouraging goal-setting, and directly teaching and reinforcing skills of independent living (Sitlington et al., 2000, p. 100). Thus, their perspective is critical from both a basic research and service provision standpoint.
Although it is essential that family well-being be understood as a complex and multidimensional construct, it is also critical that investigators agree on the best instruments to measure particular variables. Glidden (1993) and Glidden and Schoolcraft (2007) wrote about the difficulties of making progress in understanding the science of family functioning because of lack of consensus on critical constructs and how to operationalize and measure them. For example, Glidden and Schoolcraft counted 19 different instruments purporting to be measures of stress used in just 25 studies designed to explore the impact on family members of rearing a child with developmental disabilities. Furthermore, the most frequently used self-report instrument, the Questionnaire on Resources and Stress (e.g., Friedrich, Greenberg, & Crnic, 1983; Holroyd, 1987), has been criticized as not being a valid measure of stress independent of demands (Clayton, Glidden, & Kiphart, 1994; Glidden, 1993).
Because of the relative neglect of parental reaction to transition, there are not yet a plethora of questionnaires that measure parental perspectives on the transition to adulthood of a son or daughter with developmental disabilities. In the current study we describe the development of just such an instrument, designed to be completed by a parent or other caretaker of a child for whom transition to adulthood is a current issue. In the development of the instrument, we were mindful of the need to address both the positive and negative aspects of transition, recognizing that although parents experience worries and frustrations, they also derive benefits and satisfactions from the transition to adulthood, as they do at other lifestages (Dunst, Humphries, & Trivette, 2002; Flaherty & Glidden, 2000). We also were mindful of the need to place transition into a normative context, experienced by persons with and without developmental disabilities. Starting from a large pool of potential transition issues, in Study 1 we worked on narrowing and refining the focus of the measure, with the goal of developing a research instrument that could also be used diagnostically and prescriptively by professionals engaged in organizing and implementing transition services.
STUDY 1: ESTABLISHING THE FACTOR STRUCTURE OF THE TRANSITION DAILY REWARDS AND WORRIES QUESTIONNAIRE (TDRWQ)
An initial pool of 146 items was generated by three psychologists who had experience with issues related to transition to adulthood. Prior to item generation, they discussed the domains that they believed should be represented in order for the questionnaire to cover the field comprehensively. Ten domains were identified, based on a review of the existing literature (e.g., Hanley-Maxwell, Whitney-Thomas, & Pogoloff, 1995; Irvin, Thorin, & Singer, 1993; Keating, 1993; McGrew et al., 1994; Morgan, Moore, McSweyn, & Salzberg, 1992; Neubert, 2003; Thorin & Irvin, 1992) and discussion among parents, educators, and other persons knowledgeable about transition issues. The domains were Socialization, Future Expectations, Adult Life, Vocation, Family Participation, Siblings, Residence Away From Home, Community Support, Community Participation, and Health and Safety. Following generation, the 146 resulting items were reviewed by the same three individuals, and 78 items were eliminated to reduce redundancy but still retain broad coverage, leaving 68 items. Subsequently, these 68 items were reviewed for clarity and understandability by 44 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory psychology course. Based on their comments, we made minor adjustments in wording, including the framing of an item as a reward (34 items) or a worry (34 items).
Participants (N = 847) were recruited from multiple sources, including one private and three public high schools within one county, a public undergraduate 4-year college, and local shopping centers. For the high school distribution, we contacted parents/guardians of students who were 14 or older, including those who had graduated within the previous 3-year period. We asked these respondents to complete the questionnaire about their eldest child who met the age and education requirements described above. We received 529 completed questionnaires from these sources, corresponding to students who were or had been in regular (n = 184), honors (n = 270), or special education (n = 17) or were currently college students (n = 58). Other parents of students with disabilities were recruited from two other sources: 104 respondents from the U.S. Arc Website who completed an online version of the TDRWQ, and 214 respondents from an ongoing longitudinal study with a national sample of birth and adoptive parents rearing children with developmental disabilities that has been described in detail elsewhere (Glidden, Kiphart, Willoughby, & Bush, 1993; Glidden & Schoolcraft, 2003).
Most of the 513 respondents for typically developing children, 97.3%, were parents, and of these 84.5% were mothers. The remaining respondents were grandmothers, stepmothers, aunts, and foster parents. The respondents were, on average, 45 years old, and the children making the transition were, on average, 18 years old (range = 14 to 25) years. Slightly more females (54%) than males were the focus of the questionnaire. Most of the adolescents/young adults (91.7%) still lived at home, although almost a third of the sample, 32.2%, was no longer in school. Predictably, the older children were more likely to live away from home. Whereas less than 1% of children 17 or younger did not live with a parent, 31.1% of sons and daughters 20 or older did not live with a parent.
The 335 respondents for children in the special education sample were mothers (75%), fathers (23%), and step- or foster parents (2%); and 86% of the children were living in the home with the responder. Responders were, on average, 48 years old; the target children (58% male) were 18 years old, on average (range = 12 to 26). Detailed information, including student level of functioning, about the 214 participants that were part of a longitudinal sample is provided in Study 4. We did not collect level of functioning information for the 104 participants who were recruited from the Arc, but assumed, given the recruitment source, that all of them had developmental disabilities. For the 17 students recruited from local high schools, the only disability-related classification available was that they were in special education classes.
The 68 items were randomized, with the exception of 7 items on siblings that were placed at the end and answered only by parents/ guardians with at least 2 children (n = 767). We created a standard form in which respondents were instructed to circle their level of agreement for each item on a 5-point Likert scale. The response options were anchored by strongly disagree (1) and strongly agree (5), with a neutral response of neither agree nor disagree (3). The items were either a reward (positive) or a worry (negative), and the worries were reverse scored when the factors were computed.
Because our primary aim in Study 1 was to establish a factor structure for the TDRWQ, we randomly split the 847 respondents into two groups. We conducted an exploratory factor analysis with the 61 nonsibling items on one group (hereafter referred to as the exploratory group) and a confirmatory factor analysis on the other group (confirmatory group). Factor analyses were conducted using Amos 6.0 (Arbuckle, 2005), and data were analyzed with a covariance metric.
Using a combination of the scree plot criterion and a latent root criterion, we identified a four-factor solution in the exploratory factor analysis of data from the exploratory group (n = 421). Using principal axis factoring with oblique rotation, we considered four preliminary solutions before accepting a solid factor structure on the fifth solution. As a result of examining the pattern matrices from these preliminary solutions, we eliminated 40 items. For the final solution we used a criterion in which eigenvalues were greater than 1.0. Also, to ensure both cohesive factors and an independent factor structure, we required that items loaded at least .5 within a factor. This criterion resulted in only three cross loadings over .3 on other factors, resulting in 21 items, distributed in four factors. Based on the item content, these four factors were labeled Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations. They accounted for 52.27% of the variance. Table 1 displays the 21 items and the 7 additional sibling items in the order in which they were administered. Table 2 displays the 21 items grouped by the four factors, their parcel loadings, and factor variance. Factor loadings were 33.38%, Positive Future Orientation; 8.06%, Community Resources; 6.37%, Financial Independence; and 4.46%, Family Relations.
We conducted internal reliability analyses on all 28 items. These analyses demonstrated that each factor was reliable, with Cronbach alphas of .90, .84, .85, and .66/.81, respectively, for Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations/ With Sibling items. Although the alpha for the 3-item Family Relations factor was slightly lower than the commonly accepted .70 criterion, each of the items was similarly correlated with each other item, with a range of .33 to .46. For all items, scores were converted to a metric in which high scores represented the endorsement of rewards or the nonendorsement of worries.
All factors were significantly correlated, at ps < .001. Specifically, Positive Future Orientation was correlated .54, .65, and .21/.44, respectively, with Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations/With Sibling items. Similarly, Community Resources was correlated .46 and .10/.28 with Financial Independence and Family Relations/With Sibling items, respectively. Finally, Family Relations/With Sibling items correlated .28/.46 with Financial Independence.
Using a confirmatory factor analysis, we verified the established four-factor structure with the Conformity group, the other half of the randomly split sample (n = 426). The model was mapped using Amos 6.0 Graphic and the model's goodness-of-fit calculated. The model included the four intercorrelated factors, with their respective items. Parceling was used in the confirmatory factor analysis (Little, Cunningham, Shahar, & Widaman, 2002), with three 2-item parcels for Positive Future Orientation, one 3-item parcel and two 2-item parcels for Community Resources, a 2-item and 3-item parcel for Financial Independence, and the 3 nonsibling items were entered individually for Family Relations. Parcel loadings are displayed in Table 2.
The incremental fit index (IFI of .966), the comparative fit index of .965, and the root-mean-square error of approximation (RMSEA) of .069 (Browne & Cudeck, 1993) were all in desired ranges (Hu & Bentler, 1998). Thus, the proposed factor structure adequately fit the data for this sample, although the model's relative chi-square (χ2/ df;th) of 3.0 was slightly higher than recommended (Marsh & Hocevar, 1985).
STUDY 2: INTERNAL CONSISTENCY AND TEST–RETEST RELIABILITY
All the data were combined to create a dataset of 847 respondents (Group Total) who reported about transitioning students representing three levels of education. Students in high school honors classes or in college were designated as the honors class level (n = 328). Students who had been or currently were in regular education in high school were referred to as the regular class level (n = 184). Students who either had been or currently were in special education were designated as the special education class level (n = 335).
The internal consistency for the entire sample was similar to that obtained for the exploratory group only as presented in Study 1. The Cronbach alphas were .88, .83, .85, and .65/.81, respectively, for Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations/With Sibling items.
A subset of the total sample (n = 182) completed the TDRWQ a second time, approximately 3 years after the first administration. Although this sample included data from parents/guardians about students at all three levels of education, only 4.4% of the sample was in special education. As before, mothers were the primary responders (86%), with fathers and stepmothers constituting the rest of the sample. The children were, on average, 21 years old, and 71% were either enrolled in college or had completed college by the time of the follow-up. Only 8% of respondents reported that the transition to adulthood had yet to start for the target child.
Test–retest reliability was excellent over a 3-year interval. Each of the factors was highly correlated across time, with Pearson rs of .70, .60, .66, .51/.43, all ps < .001, respectively, for Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations/With Sibling items.
STUDY 3: CONCURRENT VALIDITY OF THE TDRWQ
A substantial research base suggests that parenting children with disabilities involves more worries than parenting typically developing children or those who are above average in their academic achievement (Crnic, Friedrich, & Greenberg, 1983; Dyson, 1997; Jordan & Dunlap, 2001; Minnes, 1988). Thus, to determine the discriminant validity of the TDRWQ, we compared the samples by student level of education (honors, regular, or special education). We predicted lower TDRWQ scores for parents of children who were in the special education sample than for respondents in the other two samples. Based on previous research relating to issues of adult living, including employment and socialization (Clayton et al., 1994; Kraemer & Blacher, 2001) as well as the recent research suggesting that families have positive adaptations to their child with disabilities (Flaherty & Glidden, 2000; Hastings & Taunt, 2002), we predicted larger differences between the special education sample than the other two samples for the Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, and Financial Independence factors than for the Family Relations factor.
In this study we used the group total (N = 847), from which we had, in addition to scores on the TDRWQ, data on a single-item measure of subjective well-being with regard to the transitioning target child. Participants completed one of two forms of subjective well-being, either graphics- or text-based. For the graphics-based subjective well-being, 627 respondents selected one of seven faces depicting the continuum of emotions from very happy (1) to very unhappy (7) to describe how life was going with the target child. For the text-based form, 220 respondents selected the best word descriptor, anchored by delighted (1) and terrible (7). Glidden and Jobe (2005) found a Pearson r of .77 between these two subjective well-being formats, demonstrating their comparability.
We anticipated that parents who had fewer worries and endorsed more rewards about their child's transition to adulthood would also have a higher level of subjective well-being with regard to that child, resulting in significant negative correlations between TDRWQ factor scores and subjective well-being scores.
Table 3 displays means and SDs for each of the four TDRWQ factors for each of the three educational levels. Generally, the honors group had the highest TDRWQ factor and item scores, and the special education group, the lowest. In five 1-way between-subjects ANOVAs (honors vs. regular vs. special education), we found significant main effects of class level for each of the factors: Positive Future Orientation, F(2, 844) = 258.18, p < .001; Community Resources, F(2, 844) = 65.98, p < .001; Financial Independence, F(2, 844) = 156.36, p < .001; Family Relations, F(2, 844) = 4.85, p < .01; Family Relations With Sibling items, F(2, 764) = 19.22, p < .001. Post hoc tests revealed that for every factor, the parents of the children in honors classes reported higher TDRWQ factor scores than did the parents of the regular and special education students, the only exception being that honors and special education did not significantly differ on Family Relations. Furthermore, the means for parents of regular education students were significantly higher than the means for parents of children in special education, except on the Family Relations factor, where the special education group had higher scores. There was no significant difference between these two groups on the Family Relations With Sibling items factor.
Table 3 also displays subjective well-being scores for the three educational levels. Parents/ guardians reported better scores for more advanced educational levels, as verified by a significant main effect in a one-way between-subjects ANOVA, F(2, 844) = 49.68, p < .001. Bonferroni post hoc tests revealed that all comparisons were significantly different from each other. Also, subjective well-being and TDRWQ scores were all significantly correlated at the .001 level, Pearson rs = −.57, −.39, −.55, and −.42/−.56, respectively, for Positive Future Orientation, Community Resources, Financial Independence, and Family Relations/With Sibling items. This pattern of correlations was observed for each of the three educational levels, with Pearson rs ranging from −.29 to −.58, all significant at the .001 level.
STUDY 4: CONFIRMING VALIDITY OF THE TDRWQ WITH ADDITIONAL OUTCOMES
A subset of the data examined in Study 3 was collected from parents in an 18-year longitudinal sample of children with developmental disabilities (Flaherty & Glidden, 2000; Glidden & Jobe, 2006; Glidden & Schoolcraft, 2003). Extensive data on outcomes are available for this sample, and we examined both parent- and child-oriented measures in Study 4 to extend the concurrent validity of the TDRWQ.
In this longitudinal sample, the mother (n = 136) was most often the primary respondent, but information from fathers was also collected (n = 78). The mothers' and fathers' average ages in Study 4 were 50 (SD = 6.32) and 51 (SD = 6.41) years, respectively. Mothers had completed an average of 14.61 years of education (SD = 2.87), and fathers, 15.73 years (SD = 3.17). The mean family income was $68,890 (SD = $3,993) in 2002. Maternal ethnicity was 84% Anglo European, and paternal ethnicity was 92% Anglo European. The target children in the sample were 53% male, with a mean age of 17.47 years (SD = 3.14). Theyhad a variety of disabilities, including those resulting from genetic and chromosomal aberrations(49.7 %), cerebral palsy (13.3%), and developmental disability of unknown origin (7.0%). Their level of functioning was assessed using the Adaptive Behavior Scale-School Version—ABS–S:2 (Lambert, Nihira, & Leland, 1993), with mean age equivalency scores of 10.91 (SD = 5.09) for Personal Self-Sufficiency; 6.24 (SD = 3.33) for Community Self-Sufficiency; and 7.11 (SD = 4.27) for Personal Responsibility.
Data from the following measures were collected by mail at the same time as the TDRWQ. They were completed by parents, except for the Adaptive Behavior Scale, which was completed by a teacher or other adult who was well-acquainted with the target child's functioning.
In addition to the child-related subjective well-being that we examined in Study 3, two additional related measures of subjective well-being were administered on the 7-point Likert Delighted–Terrible scale (Andrews & Withey, 1976). Parents provided a global and a current, and the already reported child-related, subjective well-being. We expected that all three measures of subjective well-being would be negatively correlated with the TDRWQ, but we expected the relation to be strongest for the child-related subjective well-being.
Maternal depression only was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961). This measure consists of 21 items, scaled from 0 to 3 in terms of level of severity of symptoms of depression, such as sadness, guilt, self-dislike, crying, and insomnia. Maternal and paternal depression was measured using the DEP5, a 5-item measure derived from the Questionnaire on Resources and Stress—QRS (Glidden & Floyd, 1997). We predicted that depression and TDRWQ scores would be negatively correlated.
Resources and demands
The Friedrich QRS is a 52-item true–false inventory divided into four scales with differing numbers of items in each scale (Friedrich, Greenberg, & Crnic, 1983). It was completed by both mothers and fathers in relation to a particular target child. Higher scores, indicative of more demands and/or fewer resources, are somewhat dependent on child characteristics, and, thus, we predicted that they would be negatively correlated with TDRWQ scores (Clayton et al., 1994; Glidden, 1993).
The ABS-S:2, which measures personal and social skills in Part I and maladaptive behavior in Part II, was completed by teachers or another adult who knew the child well. Raw scores can be standardized to a mean of 100 and a SD of 15. In this sample, for Part I, the mean standard score was 84.89 (SD = 18.12). The mean Part II standard score was 92.73 (SD = 13.80). We predicted that Part I and Part II ABS scores would be positively correlated with TDRWQ factors.
Table 4 displays the resulting correlations and their significance. All 75 correlations were in the predicted direction, and 53 were significant at least at the .05 level: 29 of 40 for mothers and 24 of 35 for fathers. For both mothers and fathers, the factor with the fewest significant correlations was Family Relations. Subjective Well-Being-Child, both measures of depression and the Friedrich total score were correlated with all or all but one of the TDRWQ factors. The ABS scores, especially Part II (Maladaptive Behavior) was the least related to the TDRWQ. Indeed, for fathers, none of the five correlations reached significance.
Taken together these four studies can be used to introduce and describe the psychometric properties of an inventory that assesses the daily rewards and worries experienced by parents or other guardians as their sons and daughters prepare for and experience the transition to adulthood. In Study 1, the originally identified 10 domains were reduced to 4 in an exploratory factor analysis and then confirmed in a different sample of parents of transition-aged students with and without disabilities. The goodness-of-fit indices, all above .95, were in the generally acceptable ranges (Bentler & Bonett, 1980). The resulting inventory with 21 items was expanded to 28 with the addition of 7 items relevant to siblings for families in which there are at least 2 children.
In addition to model fit, the tested psychometric properties of the TDRWQ were quite satisfactory. Internal consistency of factors was moderate to high in a mixed sample of students, and temporal stability, as measured by a 3-year test– retest procedure, resulted in correlations ranging from .43 to .70. The inventory successfully discriminated among parents/guardians of children in honors, regular, and special education levels.
The convergent validity of the TDRWQ was established by the pattern of correlations, which were all in the predicted direction. However, not all were significantly different from zero. Also, multiple measures of the same construct were used (e.g., depression and DEP5 overlap with the Friedrich total score), likely inflating the number of significant correlations. Nonetheless, most results were as anticipated. For example, parents who reported better subjective well-being with regard to their child also expressed fewer worries and more rewards with regard to all factors. A few results, however, were surprising, and are worthy of further exploration. Notably, the Financial Independence factor was not significantly correlated for either mothers or fathers with ratings of either adaptive or maladaptive behavior measured by the ABS, even though it discriminated strongly among the three levels of student education. A possible explanation for this finding relates to the sample used in Study 4, in which all students had developmental disabilities. Thus, there was restriction of range in this sample, and it is likely that even the individuals with the highest level of adaptive behavior would have difficulty achieving financial independence. Support for this explanation comes from the difference in the means for different education levels. The differences between honors and regular (1.3) and special education (.75) were larger for Financial Independence than they were for the other three factors.
In addition, of the eight possible correlations of TDRWQ factors and ABS Part II, Maladaptive Behavior, only three were significant and even they were small. We think, however, that it is premature to conclude that maladaptive behavior is not related to transition rewards and worries, especially given the evidence from other sources that it is (Floyd & Gallagher, 1997; Glidden & Schoolcraft, 2007; Hastings, 2003; Ricci & Hodapp, 2003). We think, instead, that the sample did not include individuals with severe maladaptive behavior problems. For example, the lowest score on the ABS Part II was attained by a 21-year-old with an adaptive behavior age equivalency of approximately 8 years. Her standard score was less than one SD below the mean of the mental retardation norms on ABS Part II, and although she had problems with stereotyped behaviors, she showed strengths in conformity and social engagement. In the future, researchers using this Inventory will need to recruit samples that demonstrate a wider range of performance on personal and social adjustment.
Also of note with regard to convergent validity is that overall mental health indicators influenced how parents perceived their child's transition. Maternal depression measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and maternal and paternal depression as measured by DEP5 both showed small to moderate correlations with all four of the TDRWQ factors. We and others have written about the need to take into account both mental health indicators and personality characteristics that might predispose individuals to mental health resilience or vulnerability (Bagby, Joffe, Parker, Kalemba, & Harkness, 1995; Birkerts, 2000; Glidden & Jobe, 2006; Glidden & Schoolcraft, 2003; Sloper & Turner, 1993). These data are a reminder of the importance of these parental characteristics.
The development of the TDRWQ has functional implications for both research and service utilization. With regard to research, it should be useful in the testing of hypotheses relating to stage models of transition to adulthood (Blacher, 2001). Transition is a normative process and may take many years, or even a decade or longer, to go from childhood to adulthood. Because parents are an essential element in this process, how they perceive its progress at different points in time is important information. An inventory with adequate reliability and validity will be an invaluable component of this enterprise.
The TDRWQ may also prove useful in assessing service needs and the success of service provision. Indeed, a preliminary version of the TDRWQ (Menard, Schoolcraft, Glidden, & Lazarus, 2002) was used in this way with a sample of the parents of transitioning students with specific language impairments who have been studied for their use of communication devices, such as mobile phones and computers for interpersonal and educational purposes (Conti-Ramsden, Botting, & Durkin, 2006).
Although the TDRWQ represents a promising initial step in measuring the rewards and worries that parents/caretakers experience as their sons and daughters make the transition to adulthood, it does have limitations. Most notably, the samples on which the instrument was developed and validated were samples of convenience and likely were not representative of the nation in characteristics such as education, income, and race and ethnicity. Because all these characteristics may influence the way parents perceive the transition experiences of their sons and daughters, we should not regard the data presented in this paper as normative. Additional samples that are specifically selected for their representativeness are needed in order to develop norms that have the necessary generalizability. Moreover, norms should address the stage/age process of transition so that the expression of parental rewards and worries can be tied to the point on the transition trajectory that the adolescent/young adult has reached. Viewed as a measure of expectations, the TDRWQ might even have some clinical value for parents whose ratio of rewards to worries may be inimical to their psychological health.
The factor structure presented in this paper resulted in an instrument with 21 items, plus 7 additional items for families with siblings, excluding 40 original items and leaving several important domains unmeasured. For example, 7 of these 40 items focused on establishing adult intimacy, including marriage and a family. These items did not meet our psychometric criteria. However, some investigators might want to include them for exploratory purposes and can obtain them from us as described in the author note.
Finally, as with many instruments, all items in the current TDRWQ are equal in weight in terms of their contribution to the total factor or overall score. One suggestion for future research that could result in a more nuanced and precise approach to measurement would include not only a report of the degree of reward or worry, but also of the degree of importance of that reward or worry to the respondent. This approach was taken in the Parenting Daily Hassles questionnaire (Crnic & Greenberg, 1990). In that inventory, parents are asked to complete two scales for each item. One scale refers to how frequently the behavior occurs and the other, the degree to which the behavior is regarded by the respondent as a hassle. The two responses are then multiplied. Thus, even if a child does something frequently, if that behavior does not bother the parent, it receives a low score. Similarly, with the TDRWQ a reward or worry item could be qualified by the degree of the importance of that item to the parent. So, for example, it may be that a parent is much more concerned that his or her son or daughter has adequate job placement services than social activities, and that weight could be reflected in a separate scale indicating the importance of the item. We recommend that this approach be developed in future research with this Inventory and that the results be evaluated to determine whether there is an increase in the reliability and/or validity of the instrument large enough to justify the extra time it will take respondents to complete it.
This research was supported, in part, by Grant 21993 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the first author and by St. Mary's College of Maryland. Thanks go to Keith Widaman for his extensive and helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and to the Arc for their assistance in data collection. Requests for reprints and for the original 68-item inventory should be addressed to Laraine M. Glidden, Department of Psychology, St. Mary's College of Maryland, 18952 E. Fisher Rd., St. Mary's City, MD 20686. email@example.com