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Mindfulness

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 984–994 | Cite as

Trait Mindfulness Attenuates the Adverse Psychological Impact of Stigma on Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Kevin Ka Shing ChanEmail author
  • Chun Bun Lam
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Stigma attached to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is prevalent, but few studies have examined its psychological impact on parents of children with ASD and the potential protective factors in this family context. The present study aimed to test the associations of public stigma and courtesy stigma with depression, anxiety, and caregiving burden among parents of children with ASD and to explore whether trait mindfulness would moderate these associations. Cross-sectional questionnaire data were collected from 424 parents of children with ASD residing in Hong Kong, China. Hierarchical regressions revealed significant interactions between public stigma and trait mindfulness and between courtesy stigma and trait mindfulness in predicting depression, anxiety, and caregiving burden. Our findings contributed to the theoretical literature by highlighting the adverse impact of both public stigma and courtesy stigma on the mental health and caregiving experience of parents of children with ASD, as well as the potential protective effects of trait mindfulness in such processes. Our findings also had important practical implications for the design of effective interventions for this stigmatized group of families.

Keywords

Autism Stigma Mindfulness Depression Anxiety Burden 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The present study was supported by the Centre for Psychosocial Health Grant 04134 and the Departmental Research Grant 04043 from the Department of Psychology of The Education University of Hong Kong. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the following special schools and autism service centers (in alphabetical order) for facilitating us in recruiting eligible participants from their service users: Caritas Hong Kong; Caritas Resurrection School; Child Assessment Centre of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Hong Chi Morninghope School, Tuen Mun; Hong Chi Pinehill No.2 School; Hong Chi Winifred Mary Cheung Morninghope School; Society for the Welfare of the Autistic Persons; The Salvation Army; and Yuk Chi Resource Centre.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Written informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to participation. The present study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The Education University of Hong Kong.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong
  2. 2.Centre for Psychosocial HealthThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of Early Childhood EducationThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong
  4. 4.Centre for Child and Family ScienceThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong

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