Marital Satisfaction, Parental Stress, & Perceived Social Support of Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Khiari Millan, Miriam
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The present study investigated the effects of both formal and informal social supports on mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder’s marital satisfaction and parental stress. To our knowledge, no other study has examined the relationship between various formal support types and marital satisfaction. This study aimed to fill this gap by examining the effects of both formal and informal social supports on mothers of children with ASD’s marital satisfaction and maternal stress. A sample of 151 mothers of children with ASD completed the online survey, assessing their use of formal and informal supports, their perceived effectiveness of said social supports, their marital satisfaction, and their parental stress. Results indicated that informal social support was significantly associated with marital satisfaction. Parents of other children with ASD/other disorders, significant other/spouse, and respite care were identified as the most effective forms of social support. Specifically, parents of other children with ASD/other disorders and significant other/spouse were identified as the most understanding of the child’s difficulties and needs. Both parents of other children with ASD/other disorders and significant other/spouse had a significant positive relationship with marital satisfaction. Several findings were consistent with previous research conducted on mothers of children with ASD; however, a few findings were inconsistent with prior research, possibly due to a lack of variability of this study’s sample and previous research being conducted in New Zealand and Australia instead of in the United States. Results from this study can inform the advancement of parental interventions and treatment aimed at increasing marital satisfaction, increasing social support use and effectiveness, and reducing parental stress.