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J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 May;39(5):706-19. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0673-4. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Religiosity, spirituality, and socioemotional functioning in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder.

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Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


Religious beliefs, religious activities, and spirituality are coping resources used by many mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined whether and how these resources were related to maternal socioemotional functioning. Mothers of children with ASD completed questionnaires assessing religiosity, spirituality, and a wide range of outcome variables, including stress, depression, self-esteem, life satisfaction, positive affect, and sense of control. Analyses revealed that religious beliefs and spirituality were associated with better positive outcomes and, to a lesser extent, lower levels of negative outcomes. Of the two predictors, spirituality accounted for more unique variance in positive outcomes. In contrast, religious activities were related to more negative outcomes and lower levels of positive outcomes.

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