1Unemploded special educator, Skopje, Macedonia
2University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Skopje, Macedonia
Citation: Nolcheva M, Trajkovski V. Exploratory study: stress, coping and support among parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. J Spec Educ Rehab 2015; 16(3-4):84-100. doi: 10.1515/JSER-2015-0013
Introduction:Each year more families are confronted with unique challenges related to raising a child with ASD. Parenting stress is a significant aspect of fulfilling the role as a parent, and having a child with ASD greatly influences the experienced stress. The literature review indicates that parenting stress is inversely proportional to family support and coping mechanisms.
Aim:Appraising the stress level among parents of children with ASD, the coping mechanisms and the level of family support, in comparison with parents of children diagnosed with ID.
Method:A group of parents of children with ASD (N=35) and a second group of children with ID (N=35) completed four questionnnaires: PSI-SF, Brief COPE, FSS and demographic questionnaire. The data was analyzed using t-test for comparison, Chi-square test for comparing frequency distributions and Pearson coefficient for correlation, with p<r;0.05 level of significance
Results:Parenting stress did not differ between the two groups. The coping mechanisms used by the parents of children with ASD showed that increased usage of distraction (r=0.469) and disengagement (r=0.567) increased the level of parenting stress. Family support (r=-0.415) is a key buffer and coping mechanism for managing the stress in parents of children with ASD.
Conclusion:There are no differences in the level of stress, coping mechanisms and the level of support comparing parents of children with ASD and ID.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, parenting stress, coping mechanisms, family support
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