Support Needs and Coping Strategies as Predictors of Stress Level among Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autism Res Treat. 2017;2017:8685950

Authors: Kiami SR, Goodgold S

This study examined maternal stress, coping strategies, and support needs among mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A convenience sample of 70 mothers completed the Parent Stress Index Short Form (PSI-SF), Coping Health Inventory for Parents (CHIP), and Modified Family Needs Questionnaire (FNQ). PSI-SF scores reflected clinically significant levels of stress for 77% of mothers, and mothers identified 62.4% of important needs as unmet. The five most frequently reported important unmet needs were (1) financial support; (2) break from responsibilities; (3) understanding of other after-school program children; (4) rest/sleep; (5) help remaining hopeful about the future. Most coping strategies (81%) were identified as helpful. Additionally, both coping strategies and support needs served as predictors for maternal stress. Maternal stress scores decreased by .402 points for each percent increase in helpful coping strategy, and stress scores increased by .529 points with each percent increase in unmet needs. Given large variation in questionnaire responses across participants and studies, utilization of user-friendly questionnaires, such as the PSI-SF, CHIP, and FNQ, is advocated to determine the evolving important needs unique to each family over the child’s lifetime as well as guide prioritization of care, compilation of resources, and referrals for additional services.

PMID: 29435368 [PubMed]

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