Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Social Support and Other Factors Related to the Emotional-Wellbeing of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

The CDC estimates that 1 in 110 children are now affected by an autism spectrum disorder. This translates to thousands of families facing the challenges associated with raising a child with an ASD. The purpose of this study was to investigate how parental emotional well-being relates to social support and isolation, as well as other types of coping behaviors. Mothers and fathers were recruited through the email listservs of various autism organizations. Parent volunteers (173 mothers, 40 fathers) completed an anonymous, online survey. Preliminary results demonstrate that parents used more informal than formal sources of support and had greater satisfaction with them. Fathers were likely to use more formal sources of support than informal. The more satisfied parents were with sources of informal support, the less they reported feelings of depression and tension. Increased satisfaction with formal sources support also meant participants reporting fewer feelings of depression. Further analyses of the relationships between social isolation and coping are currently being carried out. These findings will not only help to provide a clearer picture of this little understood topic, but they could be used in the development of interventions to assist these families.

Categories

Behavioral Sciences

Research Type

Thesis

Mentor Information

Dr. Judith Becker Bryant

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Social Support and Other Factors Related to the Emotional-Wellbeing of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The CDC estimates that 1 in 110 children are now affected by an autism spectrum disorder. This translates to thousands of families facing the challenges associated with raising a child with an ASD. The purpose of this study was to investigate how parental emotional well-being relates to social support and isolation, as well as other types of coping behaviors. Mothers and fathers were recruited through the email listservs of various autism organizations. Parent volunteers (173 mothers, 40 fathers) completed an anonymous, online survey. Preliminary results demonstrate that parents used more informal than formal sources of support and had greater satisfaction with them. Fathers were likely to use more formal sources of support than informal. The more satisfied parents were with sources of informal support, the less they reported feelings of depression and tension. Increased satisfaction with formal sources support also meant participants reporting fewer feelings of depression. Further analyses of the relationships between social isolation and coping are currently being carried out. These findings will not only help to provide a clearer picture of this little understood topic, but they could be used in the development of interventions to assist these families.