Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2011


Judith Becker Bryant

Advisor Email


Autism spectrum disorders now affect 1 in 110 children. Thus, thousands of families are facing the unique challenges associated with raising a child with an ASD. The purpose of the current study was to investigate how parental well-being relates to coping strategies, social support, and isolation. Mothers and fathers were recruited through the email lists of autism organizations, and 221 parents completed an anonymous, online survey. A decrease in reported feelings of anxiety and depression with greater use of social support supported the literature on the beneficial role it has on emotional well-being. Analyses also suggested that informal sources of support might be particularly important. It was found that the greater parents‘ use of emotional-based coping was, the greater their reported feelings of depression and anxiety. Specific stressors and coping behaviors of these parents were also explored. Further investigation is needed to better understand the roles of parent involvement and different coping methods on parental emotional well-being in this population. Implications for ASD interventions are also discussed.


Social Sciences