, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 848-858
Date: 14 Sep 2010

Feeling Good, Feeling Bad: Influences of Maternal Perceptions of the Child and Marital Adjustment on Well-being in Mothers of Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder (n = 49) participated in a 30-day diary study which examined associations between mothers’ positive and negative perceptions of their children, marital adjustment, and maternal well-being. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed that marital adjustment mediated associations between positive perceptions and maternal well-being. Mothers who reported higher levels of positive perceptions of the child were higher in marital adjustment and well-being. Results also revealed that marital adjustment moderated the relation between negative perceptions and negative maternal affect. Mothers low in marital adjustment had a positive association between negative maternal perceptions of the child and negative maternal affect. These findings highlight the dynamic roles that mothers’ perceptions and marital adjustment play in determining maternal psychological outcomes.

Diane M. Lickenbrock is now at The Pennsylvania State University. This research study was supported by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame. The second author was also supported by an NIMH training grant (2 T32 HD007184-28) We would like to thank the parent support groups for their help and support in participant recruitment as well as the mothers who gave their time to participate in this research study. We would also like to thank Cindy Bergeman and Anthony Ong for their help in the development of this project.