Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Connectedness in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Associations with Maternal Stress, Self-Efficacy, and Empathy
by Goldberg, Sophia E. M., M.A., Mills College, 2018, 50; 10794054
Abstract (Summary)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that is defined by deficits in communication, socialization, and cognitive abilities that make it more challenging for individuals to form and maintain relationships. Previous research has found that mothers with children with ASD-related symptoms report increased maternal stress and decreased maternal self-efficacy and maternal empathy. However, this research mainly examined the medical side of ASD, omitting the emotional aspect that is frequently and importantly associated with child developmental and behavioral outcomes. Alternatively, parent-child connectedness is a way to understand how parents feel emotionally connected to their children. The aim of this study was to understand how ASD-related behaviors and symptomology influenced maternal connectedness to their children, and evaluating maternal stress, maternal self-efficacy, and maternal empathy as mediating variables. Mothers (N = 125) of children between 3 and 5 years of age reported on their children’s ASD-related symptomology, maternal stress, maternal self-efficacy, maternal empathy, and parent-child connectedness. The results showed a negative effect of ASD behaviors on maternal feelings of parent-child connectedness. Maternal stress, maternal self-efficacy, and maternal empathy were tested as mediating variables and the findings demonstrated how these parenting dimensions contributed to the negative relationship between ASD symptomology and parent-child connectedness. The results are discussed regarding the possible factors influencing the parent-child connectedness, as well as implications for further research in the field of Infant Mental Health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: George, Carol, Perez, Linda
School: Mills College
Department: Education - Infant Mental Health
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Developmental psychology, Psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, Maternal connectedness, Maternal empathy, Maternal self-efficacy, Maternal stress
Publication Number: 10794054
ISBN: 978-0-355-91678-2
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