Influence of gender, parental health, and perceived expertise of assistance upon stress, anxiety, and depression among parents of children with autism

Christopher F. Sharpley*, Vicki Bitsika, Bill Efremidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


A survey of 219 parents of children with autism was administered on a confidential and anonymous basis. As well as tapping information about the nature of the child's disorder parental well-being (anxiety, depression), parents' daily level of stress arising from parenting, their confidence in handling their child's major difficulty, and the frequency of being stretched beyond their limits were included as dependent variables. Independent variables were: gender of parents, age of child and age of onset, parental health, access to other family members, and level of understanding of those family members of the child's problems. Data indicated that, although social support has previously been posited as an alleviating factor for parental stress, this may be a result of the perceived expertise of the family member who provides respite care for the parents. Issues of self-efficacy, training in behaviour management, and provision of home-based cave for parents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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