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Perceptions of Stress and Enrichment in Caregivers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Community Support

1
Psychology Department, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
2
Cecil J. Picard Center of Child Development and Life Long Learning, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2018, 8(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030088
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 17 September 2018
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Abstract

Compared to negative experiences associated with parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), research has paid much less attention to positive aspects of experiences. This study examined both experiences of stress and enrichment in parenting a child with ASD to provide insights for practical community support services. Eighty-seven caregivers responded to the Effects of the Situation Questionnaire, a modified version of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (2nd Ed.), and the Parental Sense of Competence Scale. Stress and enrichment were examined in their relations to child symptom severity, number of child-focused services, and parenting self-efficacy. Parenting self-efficacy and perceived level of stress, but not child symptom severity or number of child-focused services, were correlated with parental experiences of enrichment. The link between parenting self-efficacy and enrichment was mitigated by reported levels of stress. The findings revealed the paradoxical existence of enrichment experiences despite challenges in parenting a child with ASD. Notably, a higher number of community supports was associated with higher levels of stress, suggesting quality of support may be more important than involvement in numerous services. Moreover, enrichment occurs disregarding child’s symptoms and entails properly managing stress and a sense of parenting efficacy. View Full-Text
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder; Enrichment; parenting stress; parenting self-efficacy Autism Spectrum Disorder; Enrichment; parenting stress; parenting self-efficacy
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Lin, H.-C.; Bourque, J.; Zeanah, P.; McFatter, R. Perceptions of Stress and Enrichment in Caregivers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Community Support. Societies 2018, 8, 88.

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