Comparative Study

| Published: June 25, 2016

Coping Mechanisms and Parental Relationship in the Families of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Muddanagouda Patil

Research scholar, Department of Psychology, Karnatak University Dharwad, Karnataka, India Google Scholar More about the auther

, Smriti Gour

Research Scholar, Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Sciences, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, Noida Google Scholar More about the auther

, Neelam Pandey

Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Sciences,Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, Noida Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.069/20160303

DOI: 10.25215/0303.069


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental disorder, which, with increased awareness, is now diagnosed early and with greater accuracy in India. This study aims to assess the coping mechanisms and parental relationship in families with a child having ASD. In depth interviews were conducted for 10 families with 4 members each (n = 40). The interviews contained questions for investigating the coping mechanisms, relationship between the parents and the sibling of the child with ASD, separately interviewing the mother, father and the typically developing sibling. The key findings of the interview suggested that the families depended on household help and gathering information on the internet, which, instead of serving as the coping mechanism it was intended to be, led to increased stress for the parents. Other methods included advice and help from professionals and spiritual methods like reading scriptures, family support and the support of the society. The acceptance of the diagnosis and general optimism, along with having specific responses for aberrant behavior defined by the professional were found to be the most effective coping mechanisms for the families. The relationship between parents was stressed in almost all cases, but the families which accepted the diagnosis early and sought the help of professionals, consequently, had a much better and complementary relationship. The families also relied on the typically developing sibling for the care of the autistic child. The relationship between the sibling and the child with ASD was close and the elder sibling, if female, also took on a maternal role in some cases in the caretaking of the child. In the case of male elder sibling, the relationship was close but there was lesser delegation of responsibility for the autistic child by parents.

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429

DIP: 18.01.069/20160303

DOI: 10.25215/0303.069

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Published in   Volume 03, Issue 3, April-June, 2016

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