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Theses Doctoral

The Relationships between Parenting Stress, Child Characteristics, Parenting Self-Efficacy, and Social Support in Parents of Children with Autism in Taiwan

Lai, Fanglin Jasmine

Children with autism often place increased demands on their families due to the nature of their disorders. Research has repeatedly shown that parents of children with autism experience higher levels of stress and lower levels of overall well-being than parents of children with other disabilities, or parents of typical children. Compared to research on Western families of children with autism, research on Taiwanese families is limited. In addition, the role of parenting self-efficacy and social support and their relationship with parenting stress has remained unclear in the field of autism. The purpose of this study was to compare parenting stress (as measured by the Parenting Stress Index and the Family Stress and Coping Interview-Adapted) in parents of primary school-age children with autism (6-12 years) and parents of adolescent children with autism (13-18 years) in Taiwan. This study also explored the relative contribution of the children's characteristics, including autism severity, communication skills, socialization skills, daily living skills, and problem behaviors, as well as parenting self-efficacy and social support in relation to parenting stress among parents of children with autism in Taiwan. Moreover, the mediating and moderating effects of parenting self-efficacy and social support on the relationship between behavior problems and parenting stress were also examined. Lastly, some qualitative data were reported at the end of this study to expand the understanding of the sources of stress that Taiwanese parents of children with autism may be experiencing.
A total of seventy-nine parents of children with autism between the ages of six and eighteen years old participated in the study. In addition to face-to-face interviews, the participants completed four self-report measures and a demographic questionnaire. The results of Independent Samples t-tests showed no significant differences on the two parenting stress measures between parents of school-aged children with autism and parents of adolescent children with autism in Taiwan. The results of correlational analyses revealed that parenting self-efficacy, social support, autism severity, and behavior problems were significantly correlated with parenting stress for Taiwanese parents of children with autism. Moreover, in stepwise regression analyses, parenting self-efficacy, social support, and behavior problems were found to be the best set of predictors of parenting stress for Taiwanese parents of children with autism. A series of multiple regression analyses indicated that both parenting self-efficacy and social support demonstrated partial mediation as they both mediated the relationship between behavior problems and parenting stress among Taiwanese parents of children with autism. However, both parenting self-efficacy and social support failed to moderate the relationship between behavior problems and parenting stress. Lastly, qualitative data were reported based on responses to an open-ended question requesting parents to list the most important aspects that they would like to see change in rearing their children with autism.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Intellectual Disabilities-Autism
Thesis Advisors
Hickson, Linda
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 5, 2013
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