Investigation of the Intensity of Stress and Depression in Parents with Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Introduction: The parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) often suffer from negative feelings because of the severity of their child’s chronic health condition, and other social or economic factors. Aim: To estimate the negative feelings of parents of children with ASD. Method: The study sample consisted of 176 parents of autistic children in the area of Athens and the suburbs. Parents completed a set of questionnaires including the APA scale, which covers dimensions of “sleeping problems”, “anger”, “anxiety and depression” (PROMIS - Sleep disturbance - Level 2, Anger - Level 2 - for adults, PROMIS - Emotional distress - Level 2 for adults, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9]). Logarithmic linear regression was used for data analysis. Results: The parents with a higher household income (p=0.003) and those with a higher educational level (p=0.004) were found to have more stress symptoms. Younger parents (p=0.001), those with an older autistic child (p=0.011), the fathers (p=0.005) and parents living in a big city (p=0.012) were found to be less stressed. The serious health condition of the child and the need for special medical care most often cause anxiety and depression symptoms in the parents. Conclusions: Higher educational level and higher monthly income of the parents and the degree of severity of the child’s condition are associated with parental anxiety about the future. Mothers appear to be more stressed than fathers. Parents appear to manage to handle the difficult chronic situation a few years after the diagnosis of their child’s ASD.

Category: Volume 54, N 3
Hits: 704 Hits
Created Date: 15-09-2015
Authors: Eugenia Asimakopoulou , Chryssa Tzoumaka-Bakoula , Eleni Evangelou , Eleni Kyritsi , Ioannis Koutelekos