University of Limerick
Connolly_2019_Experience.pdf (1.19 MB)

The experiences of stress, support, and self-care in mothers of children with ASD – an exploratory study

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posted on 2022-09-09, 09:42 authored by Joanna Connolly
Introduction: The existing literature confirms time and again that parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience higher levels of stress than other parents. The current study aimed to explore the subjective lived experience of mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and gain insight into their perspectives on sources of stress as well as strategies and supports they engage in or would like the opportunity to explore. Methods: A qualitative design was undertaken and semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants. Twelve mothers of children with a diagnosis of ASD were interviewed. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim by the researcher for analysis. Results: Data analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) led to the development of five super-ordinate themes: Experiences of ASD; Interacting with Services; Experiencing ASD in the Family; Recognising Mental Health; and Aspiring for Change. Discussion: This study provided an opportunity for mothers to speak openly and subjectively about their experiences of the stressors associated with raising a child with ASD. The study findings are discussed in relation to the existing literature. Implications for policy, education, clinical practice, and future research are discussed with particular emphasis on family-centred practice in service delivery.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Coughlan, Barry





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