Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 25–34

Coping by Redefinition: Cognitive Appraisals in Mothers of Children with Autism and Children Without Autism


DOI: 10.1023/A:1017999906420

Cite this article as:
Tunali, B. & Power, T.G. J Autism Dev Disord (2002) 32: 25. doi:10.1023/A:1017999906420


To test a model of how mothers cope with the stresses of raising a child with autism (Tunali & Power, 1993), mothers of children with and without autism were interviewed. As predicted, mothers of autistic children: (1) placed less emphasis on career success and were more likely to believe that mothers of young children should not work outside of the home; (2) spent more leisure time with their extended family; (3) placed less emphasis on others' opinions of their child's behavior; (4) placed more emphasis on spousal support and parental roles in their discussions of marriage; (5) had more difficulty understanding their child's behavior; and (6) showed a marginally significant difference in their tolerance of ambiguity. Moreover, mothers of children with autism who showed these characteristics had the greatest life satisfaction overall.

Autismcopecognitive appraisalsstress

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HoustonTexas
  2. 2.Washington State UniversityPullman