Perceptions of parents of the impact of autism spectrum disorder on their quality of life and correlates: comparison between mothers and fathers

Qual Life Res. 2021 Nov 25. doi: 10.1007/s11136-021-03045-3. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Purpose: To compare mothers and fathers perceptions of the impact of autism spectrum disorder on their Quality of Life (QoL), we used the Parental-Developmental Disorders-Quality of Life scale (Par-DD-QoL).

Method: The perception of QoL of mothers and fathers was compared for 130 pairs of parents of children with ASD and the associated variables were investigated.

Results: Mothers perceived a significantly greater impact of ASD on their QoL than fathers. Parents perceived a higher impact of ASD on global QoL when their child's adaptive skills were low and when the level of aberrant behaviors was high. More precisely, the perception of QoL by the mothers was negatively associated with their child's internalized disorders, whereas the perception of QoL by the fathers was negatively associated with their child's externalized disorders. Neither the mothers' nor the fathers' perception of the impact on QoL was associated with their children's age or the severity of their autistic symptoms. Some parental factors, such as being members of a family association, having benefited from training in ASD and having experienced a disruption in professional activity were associated with a greater impact on their QoL.

Conclusion: Our finding that the perceived impact of ASD on QoL differed between mothers and fathers argues for individualized psychosocial support. Moreover, the strong correlation between the child's clinical characteristics and the perception by parents of a higher impact of ASD on QoL should be seen as red flag concerning the needs of the parents in terms of social and educational support.

Trial registration number: NCT02625116 (October 2015).

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; Children; Fathers; Mothers; Parents; Perception of the impact on quality of life.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02625116