Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Adult, Career and Higher Education
Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.
William Young, Ed.D.
Karen Berkman, Ph.D.
Leia Cain, Ph.D.
Tanetha J. Grosland, Ph.D.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bronfenbrenner Ecological Theory, Family Quality of Life, Mezirow Perspective Transformative Learning, Parent Perceptions
Numerous research showed having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect families in many ways (Brace, 2009; DeGrace, 2004; Fantaroni, 2012). The primary types of impact include family relationship (spousal and sibling relationships), finances, and access to resources and services to assist with caring for the social, emotional and academic development of a child with autism (Grindle & Remington, 2014; Harper et al., 2013; Koydemir & Tosun, 2009; Ludlow, Skelly, & Rohleder, 2011; Montes & Cianca, 2014). While extensive studies have shown similar findings of the impact of autism on family quality of life in America and other places in the world, such as Africa, East of England and London, Jamaica, Toronto and Turkey, limited or no research has shown the impact of autism on family quality of life in The Bahamas. This study expands those findings and identifies parent perceptions of the quality of life for a family raising a child or children with ASD in The Bahamas.
The purpose of this study was to identify parent perceptions of the quality of life for a family raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in The Bahamas. This study employed the Beach Center on Disability (2006) Family Quality of Life Survey to collect data from a purposive and chain sample of 56 parents raising a child with autism spectrum disorder in The Bahamas. The data from the survey was statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics such as means, standard deviations, skewness, kurtosis, and correlation, and inferential statistics such as multiple regression, and coding for the four open-ended questions.
The results of this study revealed the family quality of life for parents raising a child with ASD in The Bahamas was overall satisfactory with family interactions, parenting, and physical/material well-being being the areas of most satisfied, while emotional well-being and disability-related support were the least satisfied. The predictors for parenting, and emotional well-being were statistically significant for severity level, and educational level, respectively. The predictors for parenting a child with mild (p = 0.01) or moderate (p = 0.05) autism were higher than raising a child with severe autism. The predictor for emotional well-being for families with mother/guardian’s education level of a bachelor’s degree were the highest predictor and was statistically significant (p = 0.02). However, the predictor for emotional well-being for families with father/guardian’s education level of a bachelor’s degree was lower than father/guardian’s education level of a graduate/professional degree, which was statistical significant (p = .03). The correlation analysis revealed there was a positive and strong relationship between family interactions and physical/material well-being (p = .0003), and a positive and strong relationship between physical/material well-being and disability-related support (p = .0001). Emotional well-being and disability-related support also had a positive and strong relationship (p = .0001), and emotional well-being and physical/material well-being also had a positive and strong relationship (p = .0001). Educational workshop was identified as the dominant resources, but many indicated the lack of available resources. Evidence-based intervention (applied behavior analysis, speech therapy, occupational therapy) were identified as intervention/therapy services received, but most indicated the lack of available intervention/therapy, financial distress paying for these services, and dissatisfaction seeking resources and intervention services for their child with ASD.
This study was significant as it highlighted and added to the knowledge relevant to parent perceptions of family quality of life raising a child with ASD. Identifying these perceptions would be useful toward improving services for families of children with ASD in The Bahamas. In addition, information gathered would assist in further development of effective programming initiatives specific for this population.
Scholar Commons Citation
Smith, Sharlene Monique, "Parent Perceptions of Family Quality of Life Raising a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder in The Bahamas" (2018). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.