Stress and Coping Strategies Used by Parents When Raising a Young Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Master of Science in Education
Department or Program
Bruns, Deborah A.
Previous research has shown raising a young child with a disability, such as an ASD, gives parents a unique set of challenges that impact their family including relationships among family members. Parents of young children with an ASD may experience many stressors. Some causes of stress when raising a child with an ASD are medical decisions, behavioral challenges, and financial impact. Parents develop individual coping strategies that are unique to their family and themselves. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the stress levels and coping strategies of parents of young children with an ASD. Results indicated parents of young children with an ASD had a higher level of stress then parents of children with other disabilities. Child’s symptom severity was a key factor in stress level. One type of coping strategy many studies found was social support groups, where parents were able to vent, receive advice, and discuss their children. Social support used by parents of young children with an ASD could be formal or informal. Social supports were determined to be a main coping strategy used by parents. Parents sought counseling, support groups, and family members to address stress associated with raising a young child with an ASD.