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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Experiences of African American Fathers of Children with Autism and Social Supports
by Stephenson, Cheryl, Ph.D., Capella University, 2020, 137; 28264137
Abstract (Summary)

The research presented in this study focused on the gap in the literature by emphasizing some of the exclusions of African American men in child psychopathology and special-needs research. The purpose of this generic qualitative design was to understand how the use of social supports contributed to the parental experiences of raising children with autism. The focus was concentrated on African American fathers between the ages of 29 and 45, raising children ages 4 through 10. The participants’ experiences and perceptions regarding raising autistic children were explored through semistructured interviews using purposeful sampling. The social support theory was the theoretical framework for this study. Data analysis was utilized to synthesize the data. Data analysis led to the emergence of five themes: (a)The dependence on spirituality and well-being, (b) significance of early bonding and relationship strength, (c) trust and confidence in support, (d) coping strategies in managing emotions, and (e) lack of knowledge for culturally competent community resources. Future research should be conducted on the relationship between social support and parenting children with autism from the perspective of men of color. The findings of this study reveal that African American fathers could benefit from the knowledge of and access to formal social supports, to address barriers when raising their autistic sons and daughters.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barclay, Elaine M.
Commitee: Sparks, Cathy , Carey, Veronica, LaVerdure-McDougall , Elizabeth
School: Capella University
Department: School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Social research, Disability studies, Individual & family studies
Keywords: African American father, Autism, Parenting
Publication Number: 28264137
ISBN: 9798557050579
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