Primary caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: an exploration of the stressors, joys, and parental coping before and after out-of-home placement




Corman, Michael Kenneth

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In the present phenomenological study, mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were interviewed using semi-structured, open-ended interview questions. The purpose of this study was to explore the stressors and joys, and parental coping associated with having a child with ASD, before and after out-of-home placement. A total of 9 mothers, six from British Columbia and three from Alberta, participated in the study. The findings suggest that along with stressors, parents experienced a multitude of joys throughout their caregiving experiences. Also, joys had an impact on caregiver's stress-coping process. This study, therefore, expanded upon current states of knowledge on the adaptational function of joys to caregivers of individuals with chronic conditions. In light of the findings, modified stress-coping process model based on the work of Lazarus and Folkman (1984), Folkman (1997), and Pearlin et al. (1990; 1980) is proposed. Also, findings shed light on mothers' lived-experiences leading up to and after out-of-home placement, illuminating an understudied aspect of caregiving for children with ASD.



Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASD, caregivers, mothers, parental behaviour