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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Robert Hock, Ph.D., LMSW

Title: Associate Professor
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-5861
Office: Hamilton 303
Resources: Curriculum Vitae

Autism and Family Lab

Google Scholar
rob hock

Research Expertise

  • Parenting 
  • Family system intervention and support 
  • Co-parenting/Co-caregiving relationship 
  • Family-Centered Service Delivery 
  • Human-Centered Design 


Professor Robert Hock joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2010, after working as a mental health therapist with children and families for six years. Dr. Hock’s research is aimed at promoting healthy parenting and family-centered service delivery for families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and behavioral health challenges. He specializes in community-engaged intervention development, real-world program evaluation, and using human-centered design (HCD) and related methodologies to promote innovation in social service organizations.  He enjoys working in partnership with community organizations to conduct applied research that is relevant and useful to local communities.   

Dr. Hock is particularly committed to developing and testing family-system interventions to improve caregiver mental health, strengthen parent-child relationships, support co-parenting effectiveness, and increase service access.  He has been an investigator on five interventions for parents, and is currently an MPI (with Dr. Mark Feinberg) of an NIH R01 Clinical trial (R01HD099295) titled, “Test of an Innovative, Scalable Support Program for Parents with a Child Recently Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” This 5-year project is comparing the effectiveness of two parent-peer support interventions with families of children recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Hock is also working with researchers in Psychology and Special Education on a series of studies to develop and test interventions that merge evidence-based behavioral parent training and caregiver mental health support. He is also the program evaluator for the South Carolina Parent Training and Information Center, which is funded by the federal Office of Special Education Programs and housed at Family Connection of SC.  

Dr. Hock enjoys teaching advanced MSW practice courses, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, Advanced Social Work Practice with Children, Youth, and their Families, and Evaluation of Social Work Practice. He also regularly delivers training for parents and professionals about intervening with families of children with disabilities and promoting innovation in healthcare organizations.  

Hock’s publications focus on family interventions for autism spectrum disorder, coparenting relationships, caregiver mental health, and family engagement in social service settings. Recent journal articles have focused on topics such as the development of the Autism Parent Navigator Program, correlations between child behavior problems, family management and depressive systems for mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder, barriers and facilitators to substance use treatment in the rural south, and a parent-informed framework of treatment engagement in group-based interventions. His publications have appeared in scholarly journals, including the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, Psychiatric Services, and the Journal of Child and Family Studies. 

Dr. Hock’s previous research partnerships include the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the SC Department of Mental Health, the Autism Society of SC, Family Connection of SC, Prisma Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, SC Department of Health and Human Services, the Southeastern School Behavioral Health Community, and SC National Alliance for Mental Illness, ABLE SC, and the SC Federation of Families.  

Hock received his Master of Social Work, with a certificate in Clinical Social Work with Families, from Michigan State University, where he also earned his Ph.D. in social work. 

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