Objective: To assess the level of parenting stress and associating factors of stress in parents rearing children with autism.
Materials and Methods: The sample included 60 parents (30 fathers, 30 mothers) of 30 children with diagnosis of autism. The sample was taken from different hospitals and institutions of mental retardation in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Wah Cantt, Pakistan from 2005-2006. Stress in parents was measured through parental stress scale (PSS).
Results: PSS score of fathers was 46.63±7.99 and mothers 50.03±9.60 (p 0.01). Score for parents of children 4-9 years age was 50.38±7.93 and for parents of children 10-18 years age 47.13±10.26 (p 0.01). Score for parents of boys was 46.81±8.39 and for parents of girls 50.00±9.34 (p 0.01).
Conclusion: There was significant stress in parents of autistic children. Mothers experienced more stress than fathers. The level of stress was different in parents with the increasing age of the children. The implication is that mothers of children with autism are more prone to experience stress, thus requiring special attention from mental health professionals. (Rawal Med J;33:214-216).
Parenting, stress, autism
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