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Autism. 2004 Dec;8(4):409-23.

Mothers supporting children with autistic spectrum disorders: social support, mental health status and satisfaction with services.

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Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.


Parents of children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are more likely to experience serious psychological distress than parents of children with other developmental disabilities. To examine the impact of a range of factors on psychological wellbeing, interviews were undertaken with 68 mothers of children with ASDs to explore aspects of social support, mental health status and satisfaction with services. Findings indicated that over half of mothers screened positive for significant psychological distress and that this was associated with low levels of family support and with bringing up a child with higher levels of challenging behaviour. Mothers were more likely to report lower levels of support if they were a lone parent, were living in poor housing, or were the mother of a boy with ASD. The study also investigated areas of useful support and areas of unmet need, the latter including care breaks and advice needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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