Mothers of adolescents and adults with autism: parenting multiple children with disabilities

Intellect Dev Disabil. 2007 Aug;45(4):257-70. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556(2007)45[257:MOAAAW]2.0.CO;2.


We examined types of disabilities in siblings from a large sample of families of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the impact of another child with a disability on maternal and family well-being. The most frequent disabilities in siblings were attention and hyperactivity (4.6%) and autism spectrum (2.4%) disorders and psychiatric (2.1%) and learning (2.0%) disabilities. Mothers parenting another child with a disability (in addition to the child with ASD) had higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety and lower family adaptability and cohesion compared with mothers whose only child with a disability had ASD (matched on child age and family size). Findings are discussed with respect to understanding the needs of such families, including service provision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Disabled Children / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Siblings
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires