Title: Support Needs of Fathers and Mothers of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Legend: Left, top image: The most support needs most frequently rated as both important and unmet for both mothers and fathers. Mothers’ non-overlapping top important, unmet support needs were child-focused (financial support for treatments, information about programs and services, and consistent child therapies). In contrast, fathers’ non-overlapping top important, unmet support needs were parent-focused (getting sleep, going out to dinner with family, vacations by oneself). Right, Top image : Results from a multilevel model using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) indicating a significant parent gender x child ID status effect. The presence of ID was associated with a higher proportion of important support needs that are unmet for mothers. Bottom image : The number of important support needs and proportion of important support needs that are unmet in mothers and fathers. Paired sample t-tests indicated that mothers had a significantly higher number of important support needs and a higher proportion of support needs that were unmet than fathers.
Citation: Hartley, S.L., & Schultz, H.M. (2015). Support needs of fathers and mothers of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 1636-1648. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2318-0
Abstract: Little research has examined the support needs of mothers versus fathers of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We identified and compared the important and unmet support needs of mothers and fathers, and evaluated their association with family and child factors, within 73 married couples who had a child or adolescent with ASD. Mothers had a higher number of important support needs and higher proportion of important support needs that are unmet than fathers. Multilevel modeling indicated that child age, co-occurring behavior problems, presence of intellectual disability, parent education, and household income were related to support needs. Findings offer insight into the overlapping and unique support needs of mothers and fathers of children and adolescents with ASD.
About the investigator: Sigan Hartley, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Department. Her research examines the individual resources and family contexts underlying positive well-being in individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.