Maternal Self-Efficacy and Associated Parenting Cognitions Among Mothers of Children With Autism

Authors

  • Jennifer C. Kuhn MA,

    1. University of Massachusetts, Boston
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      Jennifer C. Kuhn, MA and Alice S. Carter, PhD, Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

  • Alice S. Carter PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Massachusetts, Boston
      University of Massachusetts, Boston. Psychology Department, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125. E-mail: alice.carter@umb.edu
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    • 2

      Jennifer C. Kuhn, MA and Alice S. Carter, PhD, Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston.


  • The authors would like to express gratitude to the parents who participated in this study and the National Alliance of Autism Research (NAAR) for grant support. They would also like to thank Building Blocks, Inc. and NAAR for playing an integral role in facilitating participant recruitment.

University of Massachusetts, Boston. Psychology Department, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125. E-mail: alice.carter@umb.edu

Abstract

Feelings of competency in the parental role, termed parenting self-efficacy, have been associated with well-being and positive parenting outcomes. Given the unique stresses inherent in raising a child with autism, parents may find it challenging to maintain a positive sense of well-being and self-efficacy. Study aims were to investigate associations between maternal self-efficacy and parenting cognitions among mothers of children with autism. Mothers (n = 170) completed questionnaires on paper or via the Internet. In a hierarchical linear regression, depression, parenting stress, agency, and guilt each accounted for unique variance in maternal self-efficacy when controlling for time since diagnosis and the presence of a second child with a disability. Autism knowledge was not associated with parenting self-efficacy. Self-efficacy appears to be associated with well-being, agency, and feelings of guilt among mothers of children with autism. Parent- and family-based interventions designed to support parental well-being and focusing on parenting cognitions may enhance parenting self-efficacy.

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