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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Parenting Stress in Mothers of Preschool Children Recently Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Shaffer, Cheryl M., Ph.D., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - Newark, 2012, 122; 3517882
Abstract (Summary)

Parenting stress is a significant psychological phenomenon when individuals feel difficulty with parental role fulfillment. Greater parenting stress is expected theoretically and experienced empirically by parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Theorists postulate maternal parenting stress is influenced by the perception of aberrant child behavior severity, future expectations, perceived availability and utility of social support, and maternal age.

Previous literature has insufficiently addressed the theoretical propositions that correlate these factors to parenting stress in mothers of recently diagnosed young children. The purpose of this study was to assess parenting stress and possible associated variables in mothers of young children during the first year after an ASD diagnosis. It was hypothesized that perceived severity of aberrant behavior and maternal age would be positively related to parenting stress. Parental expectations and social support levels were anticipated to be inversely related to parenting stress in mothers.

A convenience sample of 75 biological mothers of children with ASD aged 5 years or less whose diagnoses were made less than 12 months prior to study enrollment was recruited from a national sample. A demographic questionnaire and 4 paper and pencil instruments were utilized. Bivariate correlation coefficients and a multiple regression were calculated for the variables under study.

A moderate, positive correlation between perceived severity of aberrant behavior and parenting stress was established. Low negative correlations between evaluations of family support and parenting stress and between future expectations and parenting stress were also found. Contrary to the hypothesis, a low negative correlation between maternal age and parenting stress was substantiated. Maternal expectations and perceived severity of aberrant behavior proved most significant, accounting for 32% of total variance in reported levels of parenting stress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scoloveno, Mary Ann
School: Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - Newark
Department: Graduate School - Newark
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-B 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Social psychology, Nursing
Keywords: Autsim spectrum disorders, Mothers, Parenting stress, Preschool children
Publication Number: 3517882
ISBN: 978-1-267-48448-2
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