Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 179–187 | Cite as

Who Participates in Support Groups for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders? The Role of Beliefs and Coping Style

  • Tessen Clifford
  • Patricia Minnes
Original Paper


One hundred forty-nine parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) completed online questionnaires measuring their beliefs about support groups and ASD, coping style, social support, mood, and use of support groups. Those currently using parent support groups (PSGs) reported using more adaptive coping strategies than both parents who had never used PSGs and parents who had used PSGs in the past. Past PSG users reported that they did not find the groups as beneficial as current users, and parents who had never participated in PSGs reported difficulties with the accessibility of PSGs. Based on the current results, interventions for parents of children with ASD that are focused on meeting the needs identified by participating parents may be most effective.


Autism Parents Support groups Predictors Group participation 



This paper was prepared as part of Tessen Clifford’s doctoral dissertation. Special thanks to Dr. Beth Kelley and Dr. Kevin Parker for their support in the development of this project. The first author was supported through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada CGS Doctoral Scholarship [Award # 767-2008-2150] and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pathways for Children and YouthKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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