Quality of life: a key variable to consider in the evaluation of adjustment in parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and in the development of relevant support and assistance programmes
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- Cappe, E., Wolff, M., Bobet, R. et al. Qual Life Res (2011) 20: 1279. doi:10.1007/s11136-011-9861-3
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Our primary objective was to identify cognitive and behavioural profiles that affect adjustment, in order to make relevant recommendations about support and assistance for parents of autistic children.
One hundred and sixty French parents completed a battery of questionnaires and self-report measures developed or adapted to assess (1) the child and family situations; (2) perceived stress; (3) perceived social support; (4) perceived control; (5) coping strategies; and (6) quality of life.
The psychometric properties of the instruments we used proved to be adequate. Our results support the pre-existing data and our findings may prove to be of interest to clinicians. Our primary finding was that emotion-focused coping strategies seem to be less effective. Parents who employed emotion-focused strategies were more stressed and more disturbed in most parts of their life. They also experienced more guilt and reported more false beliefs about PDD.
Our data underscore the need for psychoeducation programmes for parents, focused on handling stress and emotions, modifying false beliefs and solving the daily problems that arise from PDD. We propose a 5-axis intervention model for parents of children with PDD, based on cognitive–behavioural therapies and on a stress management programme.