Use of a relaxation technique by mothers of children with autism: a case-series study

Psychol Rep. 2012 Dec;111(3):797-804. doi: 10.2466/20.15.21.PR0.111.6.797-804.


Mothers of children with autism are subject to considerable stress by having to adjust to the disorder and to cope with practical and social issues. Evidence on the effects of relaxation training on stress of these mothers is scarce. The purpose of this pilot case-series study was to examine the role of a simple 6-week daily stress management technique on mothers of children with autism. Mothers' stress measurements and children's functionality were assessed using validated instruments. Participants were 11 mothers of children with autism seen consecutively in the autism clinic of a children's hospital. Statistically significant median reductions of perceived and parental stress were noted after the 6-week intervention. Median stress scores were lower by 37.1% and 33% from the baseline values of the perceived stress scale and parental stress index, respectively. Stress was not significantly correlated with children's functioning. Stress management seems to have benefits for mothers of children with autism.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome