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Keywords:

  • autism spectrum disorders;
  • coping strategies;
  • double ABCX model;
  • family quality of life;
  • psychological well-being;
  • sense of coherence

Abstract

Background

This study examined family quality of life (FQOL) and psychological well-being from a multidimensional perspective. The proposed model was based on the double ABCX model, with severity of the disorder, behaviour problems, social support, sense of coherence (SOC) and coping strategies as components.

Method

One hundred and eighteen parents (59 mothers and 59 fathers) with a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) participated in the study. Separate path analyses were performed to evaluate models of FQOL and psychological well-being for mothers and fathers.

Results

In all models, behaviour problems had a negative indirect effect on adaptation (FQOL and psychological well-being) through SOC. For both mothers and fathers, the severity of the disorder and social support played significant roles in FQOL models. Coping strategies were related with adaptation, active avoidance coping with FQOL for fathers and positive and problem-focused coping with psychological well-being for mothers.

Conclusions

The results of this study highlight the value of the multidimensional approach. The specific patterns of results for mothers and fathers contribute to comprehension of the psychological adaptation of parents. Findings could be taken into account in interventions with families.