Adaptation to Daily Stress Among Mothers of Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Daily Positive Affect
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Raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder is a challenging experience that can impact maternal well-being. Using a daily diary methodology, this study investigates (1) the relationship between stress and negative affect, and (2) the role of daily positive affect as a protective factor in the stress and negative affect relationship. Results from hierarchical linear models revealed that higher levels of stress were associated with decreased negative affect, both within and across days. Daily positive affect buffered the immediate and longer-lasting negative impact of stress on days of low to moderate levels of stress. Implications of the present study are discussed with regard to theoretical models of positive affect, the development of intervention programs, and directions for future research.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Parent stress Daily diary Positive affect
This research was supported in part by an NIMH training grant (2 T32 HD007184-28) and by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame. We thank the various parent support groups for their help and support in participant recruitment. We are also indebted to the families who gave their time to participate in this research. We also thank Cindy Bergeman, Scott Maxwell, and Julia Braungart-Rieker for their comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
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