Community support, family resilience and mental health among caregivers of youth with autism spectrum disorder

Child Care Health Dev. 2022 Jun 25. doi: 10.1111/cch.13025. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been shown to have unique mental health vulnerabilities that community support may buffer. Positive caregiver mental health can stimulate family resilience behaviours, such as strong communication and problem-solving. Further, community support has been found to be related to caregiver mental health, as well as improved child functioning. The current study aims to investigate caregiver mental health as a mediator between community support and family resilience in families of a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

Methods: Data obtained from caregivers of 654 children with a reported diagnosis of ASD were utilized from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) public database.

Results: Community support was positively correlated with family resilience and caregiver mental health. Bivariate correlations indicated significant positive associations between community support and family resilience. Caregiver mental health, significantly, partially mediated the relationship between community support and family resilience.

Conclusions: The present study provides important insight into fostering caregiver health as a strategy to promote family resilience behaviours. Interventions designed to address family resilience behaviours among families of children with ASD should focus on ways that positively impact caregiver mental health.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; caregiver mental health; community support; family resilience.