Mediating Effects of Social Support on Quality of Life for Parents of Adults with Autism

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the mediating effect of formal and informal social support on the relationship of caregiver burden and quality of life (QOL), using a sample of 320 parents (aged 50 or older) of adult children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Multiple linear regression and mediation analyses indicated that caregiver burden had a negative impact on QOL and that informal social support partially mediated the relationship between caregiver burden and parents’ QOL. Formal social support did not mediate the relationship between caregiver burden and QOL. The findings underscored the need to support aging parents of adult children with ASD through enhancing their informal social support networks.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the assistance I received from my doctoral committee at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. A special thanks to Dr. Faith Hopp, Dr. Barbara LeRoy, Dr. Debra Patterson, and Dr. Arlene Weisz. I would also like to acknowledge the financial support I received from Wayne State University Graduate School and the School of Social Work.

Author Contributions

CM: Created the study, applied for IRB approval, acquired the data, and interpreted the data. Contributed to the literature review, interpretation of the data analysis, reporting of the findings, writing, and editing. Conception and design of the study. PS: Contributed to interpreting the data analysis, reporting the findings, writing, and editing.

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Correspondence to Christina N. Marsack.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Wayne State University Institutional Review Board.

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The use of an electronic survey program precluded the use of an informed consent form. In its place, an information sheet that required the participant to indicate that he/she agreed to participate was used.

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Marsack, C.N., Samuel, P.S. Mediating Effects of Social Support on Quality of Life for Parents of Adults with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 2378–2389 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3157-6

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Keywords

  • Informal social support
  • Formal social support
  • Caregiver burden
  • Quality of life
  • Parents
  • Adults with autism spectrum disorders