The role of family cohesion in the psychological adjustment of non-Hispanic White and Hispanic mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder

Naomi V. Ekas, Christine Ghilain, Megan Pruitt, Seniz Celimli, Anibal Gutierrez, Michael Alessandri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study utilizes a process-oriented approach to understand both personal and family factors influencing the development of depressive symptoms among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic mothers of children with ASD. Family cohesion was hypothesized to mediate the associations between the personal factors (optimism, benefit finding, social support) and depressive symptoms. Mothers of 117 children with ASD (Hispanic n = 73; non-Hispanic White n = 44) completed measures of depressive symptoms, family cohesion, social support, optimism, and benefit finding. Results from this study indicate that optimism, benefit finding, and social support are important predictors of positive maternal adjustment. Furthermore, these factors contribute to better family functioning, namely family cohesion. The mediation models containing optimism, benefit finding, partner and family support were significant for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic White mothers, suggesting a similar mediation process for both racial/ethnic groups. However, family cohesion was a significant mediator of the relationship between friend support and depressive symptoms for Hispanic mothers only. The results of this study complement and extend previous research examining family functioning among mothers of children with ASD and have implications for the development of interventions aimed at increasing maternal well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-24
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Depression
  • Family cohesion
  • Hispanic
  • Mothers
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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