Relatively little research has focused on the experiences of parents of adolescent and adult children with autism spectrum disorder. Because autism symptoms and associated problems persist across the child’s life course, stressful parenting associated with caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder also persists. Midlife mothers of grown children with autism spectrum disorder lead stressful and intense daily lives, and the accumulation of daily stressful experiences over many years forms a chronic parenting stress trajectory. The chronic parenting stress trajectory contributes to vulnerability for physical and mental health problems in mothers of grown children with autism spectrum disorder. Normative life course experiences, adaptive coping, and changes in child functioning contribute to adaptation and resilience for some mothers. Enhancing social support, formal and informal, across the child’s life course is important for promoting resilience across midlife and into old age.
- Depressive Symptom
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Behavior Problem
- Adult Child
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This body of work was completed with support from the US National Institutes of Health (R01 AG08768; P30 HD03352, T32 HD07489) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Renee Makuch, Jinkuk Hong, and Jan Greenberg to this body of work. We are grateful to the families who participated in this research.
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Barker, E.T., Mailick, M.R., Smith, L.E. (2014). Chronic Parenting Stress in Mothers of Adolescents and Adults with Autism: Vulnerability and Resilience. In: Patel, V., Preedy, V., Martin, C. (eds) Comprehensive Guide to Autism. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4788-7_9
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