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J Family Community Med. 2020 Jan-Apr;27(1):15-22. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_157_19. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Effect of autism on parental quality of life in Arar city, Saudi Arabia.

Author information

1
Department of Community Medicine, Saudi Board of Family Medicine Joint Program, Arar, Saudi Arabia.
2
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt.
3
Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The quality of life (QOL) of the families of children with autism is lower than that of families of normal children or children with other disabilities. The study's aim was to describe the severity of effect on the domains of the QOL of caregivers of autistic children and to identify the characteristics of caregivers and children associated with impaired QOL.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This cross-sectional study included 84 parents of autistic children attending developmental abnormalities clinic in Arar city during January 1 to March 31, 2019. Parents of autistic children were interviewed using an Arabic version of the short-form 36 to assess their QOL. A mean score of <50 was considered to indicate poor QOL. Collected data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS, version 20.0). A Chi-square test was used for comparison between categorical variables.

RESULTS:

Of 84 caregivers, 63.1% had impaired QOL. The main domains affected were energy/fatigue and role limitations resulting from emotional problems. Female gender, unemployment, and low income of caregivers were significant factors associated with poor QOL. Autistic children of the first birth order and with long duration of the disease were more likely to be associated with poor parental QOL. Gender, income, occupation, and duration of illness were associated with poor quality of life, but this was not statstically significant.

CONCLUSION:

Slightly less than two-thirds of the caregivers had impaired QOL. Caregivers of autistic children need social and emotional support to help them to cope with this disability.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Saudi Arabia; caregivers; quality of life; short-form 36

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