Coping and Psychological Adjustment Among Mothers of Children with ASD: An Accelerated Longitudinal Study
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Utilizing a cohort sequential design and multilevel modeling on a sample of 113 mothers, the effects of four coping strategies (engagement, disengagement, distraction, and cognitive reframing) on multiple measures of maternal adjustment were assessed over a 7 years period when children with autism spectrum disorders in the study were approximately 7–14 years old. Findings indicated increased use of disengagement and distraction to be related to increased maternal maladjustment over time, while increased use of cognitive reframing was linked to improved maternal outcomes (findings regarding engagement’s effects on adjustment measures were mixed). In addition, results indicated that use of different coping strategies at times moderated the effects of child behavior on maternal adjustment. Study findings are discussed in light of prior research and study limitations and clinical implications are highlighted.
KeywordsCoping Stress Psychological adjustment Autism spectrum disorders ASD Mothers
Special thanks are extended to the mothers who participated in this study and to Melissa Fernandes, Kristie Karlof, Dorothy Robison, Zach Rossetti, and Alexis St. James for their invaluable assistance in the collection of study data. The research on which this study is based was supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Grant No. H324C040092.
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