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Self-Perceived Health of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Relation with the Severity Level

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DOI: 10.4236/psych.2014.519221    2,970 Downloads   3,520 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by deficits in reciprocal social interaction and communication which have a major effect on the quality of life of the parents. Self-perceived health of 124 ASD parents was investigated using the short-form health survey (SF-36) questionnaire. In a first step, comparative analysis was performed between a control group of parents and three groups of ASD parents classified according to the severity levels for autism spectrum disorder. In a second step, correlation analysis was performed between the self-perceived health of ASD parents and a continuous rating scale of the severity level of ASD children, determined with the Childhood Autistic Rating Scale (CARS) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G). Results show that as the severity level of ASD symptoms increase, mother’s perception of their own health decreases. Statistical analysis revealed a very strong relationship between the Mental Health of the mothers and the ASD children, especially with the deficit in social interaction. Restrictive and repetitive behavior and difficulty in play have less direct impact on the quality of life of ASD mothers. The highest impairment in quality of life was observed for the mothers of severe autism children, in the time spent at work and the difficulty to perform activities, due to mental and physical problems. Relationship between fathers and ASD children is significantly lower than that observed for mothers, except for problems with work or other daily activities as a result of physical health. These finding must be taken into account to provide better and more focused support to ASD mothers, in order to improve the mental health and to reduce the difficulty in performing activities.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Garriot, C. , Villes, V. , Bartolini, A. & Poinso, F. (2014). Self-Perceived Health of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Relation with the Severity Level. Psychology, 5, 2189-2199. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.519221.

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