Parenting stress in Chinese mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013 Apr;48(4):575-82. doi: 10.1007/s00127-012-0569-7. Epub 2012 Sep 12.


Objective: Elevated parenting stress has been observed among mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in western countries, but little is known about mothers of Han Chinese children. The aim of the current study was to further the knowledge about stress experienced by Chinese mothers of children with ASD by examining maternal parenting stress in Heilongjiang province of China.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, data about participants' demographic characteristics, parenting stress, anxiety, depression, child's behavioral problems, coping strategies, and social support were collected though a questionnaire survey. The participants included 150 families with ASD children, who were consecutively admitted to the clinics of the Children Development and Behavior Research Center in Harbin Medical University, Heilongjiang Disabled Persons Federation, and Mudanjiang Child Welfare Home.

Results: The participants reported elevated parenting stress. Mothers' parenting stress was associated with levels of depression and anxiety, and child's behavioral symptoms. Child's behavioral symptoms, maternal anxiety, maternal depressive symptoms, and lack of governmental financial support were associated with overall parenting stress.

Conclusions: Government support may play an important role in reducing parenting stress in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*