Parenting stress in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders

J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2009 Jul;14(3):157-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6155.2009.00188.x.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the sources of parenting stress in mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and examine the relationship between parenting stress and maternal psychological status (depression and well-being).

Design and methods: A descriptive correlational design was used. Data were collected via mailed questionnaires.

Results: Behavioral symptoms were the primary source of parenting stress for mothers. There was no relationship between child characteristics and parenting stress. Mothers reporting more parenting stress had more depressive symptoms and lower levels of well-being.

Practice implications: Our findings have implications for interventions with mothers to help them manage their children's behavior and focus on stress reduction and well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires