Individual and Marital Adaptation in Men with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Spouses: The Role of Social Support and Coping Strategies

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine the predictive value of social support and coping for individual and marital adaptation in adult men with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their spouses, based on the double ABCX model of adaptation. Twenty-one couples participated in the study and completed measures of stressor severity, social support, coping, individual and marital adaptation. Bivariate analyses showed that each of the model components was related to adaptation in men and women. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that, after controlling for relevant demographics and stressor severity, informal support was a strong, and unique predictor of adaptation in both spouses (explained variance: 27–89%). Coping did not add to the prediction of adaptation. Clinical implications and limitations are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Ghent University Research Fund. We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of all families who participated in this study. Special thanks goes to our graduate students Filip Maes and Ciska Wittouck for their assistance in collecting the data.

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Correspondence to Herbert Roeyers.

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Renty, J., Roeyers, H. Individual and Marital Adaptation in Men with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Spouses: The Role of Social Support and Coping Strategies. J Autism Dev Disord 37, 1247–1255 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0268-x

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Double ABCX model
  • Social support
  • Coping
  • Adaptation