Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 975–988

Keeping a Sound Marriage: How Couples with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Maintain Their Marriages

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10826-013-9753-y

Cite this article as:
Ramisch, J.L., Onaga, E. & Oh, S.M. J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23: 975. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9753-y


This study focused on strengths and variables that contribute to marital successes for couples with children with autism spectrum disorders (in this article, referred to as “autism”). Particularly, the purpose of this study was to examine what husbands and wives with children with autism in contrast to couples with children who are typically developing identify as helpful to maintaining their marriages. Concept mapping methodology was used for this research study. Couples with children with autism and couples with children who are typically developing participated in telephone interviews and then grouped and rated the statements generated from their interviews. Groupings were translated into pictorial maps showing relationships and patterns. Couples with children with autism shared common perceptions about factors that help to keep their marriages strong: communication and shared foundational ideas about marriage. Communication was a cluster for all groups of husbands and wives. Only mothers of children with autism identified time for self-care as a distinct cluster.


AutismCommunicationConcept mappingCouplesMarriage

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition SciencesNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Michigan Department of Community HealthLansingUSA