• Parental Wellbeing: Stress, Parental Sense of Competence, Social Support and Hope in parents of children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder

      O'Neill, Linda; Keane, Kerry (University of Chester, 2018)
      Parents of children raising a child with a disability, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), often report higher levels of stress than parents of typically developing (TD) children. Much research focuses on the psychological impact of caring for a child with additional needs, with little providing a more inclusive insight into the overall effect on parental functioning. The current study used multiple self-report measures to explore stress, parental sense of competence, social support and hope in parents raising a TD child compared to those raising a child with a disability or ASD. Results showed significant differences between the groups. Parents raising a child with ASD reported the highest level of stress, and alongside parents raising a child with a disability, had significantly higher levels than parents raising a TD child. Additionally, parents of children with a disability and ASD had significantly lower perceived parental competence, social support and hope than parents of TD children. Further variations between the groups were discussed. The results highlighted that raising a child with a disability or ASD is a unique and variable experience, shaped by a body of factors that need to be reviewed comprehensively to support positive parental adjustment. Implications and suggestions for future research were also discussed.