Study on Parents with Autistic Children Essay

Total Length: 1500 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

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Autism is a problem with significant negative impacts on affected children and their parents/families who require wide-ranging support services for their children. For family members, the condition generates distress when raising the affected child due to the psychological and social problems it creates. Therefore, the consideration of parental mental health is an important aspect for social workers and mental healthcare providers when attending to these special needs' kids and creating interventions for children diagnosed with autism. In this regard, the research problem to be examined in this study is the link between hopefulness, quality of life (QOF) and internalized stigma for parents with autistic children.

Plan for Identifying Research Question and Sub-questions

The plan for identifying the research question and relevant sub-questions in this study involves utilizing the PICO format. First, the researcher identified the population or problem of interest i.e. parents with children suffering from autism. This was followed by determining the specific component of the subjective i.e. intervention or diagnosis. For this study, the intervention relating to the population of interest is stigma internalization and how its associated with quality of life and hopefulness. The third step in identifying the research question is determining the control or comparator, which in this case is the link between quality of life and stigma internalization among this population. The final step is the outcome, which entails determining how these two variables are linked and the need for consideration of parents and families when designing interventions for children suffering from autism. Notably, the PICO approach was preceded by identifying the research problem.

Synthesis of Information

Researchers have carried out several studies that address the various issues relating to the link between stigma internationalization and hopefulness and quality of life among parents with autistic children. Corrigan & Watson (2003) defined stigma internalization as a process wherein patients' family members might exhibit elevated negative emotions, withdrawal from society, negative self-assessment and an attempt to hide their stigmatized standing from other people. These researchers argue that stigmatized individuals undergo greater stress compared to others, which negatively impacts their quality of life. While Ekas, Lickenbrock, & Whitman (2010) concur that stress brought by stigmatization can negatively affect an individual's quality of life, they contend that not all parents experience the negative impacts of stigmatization.

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However, stigmatized individuals can lessen the impacts of stigmatization through receiving social assistance and welfare. Papageorgiou & Kalyva (2010) suggests that parents' participation is support groups that provide social assistance and welfare is driven by specific needs though few studies have examined their intentions for doing so. These researchers found that the self-reported needs and expectations of parents with autistic children differ and should be taken into consideration when creating such groups in order to help improve outcomes.

According to Kashdan et al. (2002), parents with autistic children tend to suffer from stress and depression, which affects their hopefulness and quality of life, which are regarded as resilient factors or components for dealing with stigma. However, there is limited research on the positive and negative effects of parental expectations of the future of their autistic children and its effect on parental health and well-being. In light of the existed of relatively limited literature on this issue, Baird et al. (2006) argue that its important for social workers catering for autistic children to understand the impact of parental hope and internalized stigmatization on parental QOL. Since autism is a lifetime ailment, an understanding of parental challenges and the determination of adjustment techniques for alleviating their negative impacts is urgent and necessary to help improve their lives.

The identified studies will make significant contributions to this research through providing insights on the different issues relating to the research problem. First, these studies promote an understanding of stigma internalization among the population of interest and the various challenges they experience. Secondly, these studies help in determining the role of support groups that provide social assistance and welfare in improving hopefulness and….....

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Baird, G., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., & Charman, T. (2006). Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP). The Lancet, 368(9531), 210-215. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(06)69041-7

Corrigan, P., & Watson, A. (2002). The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9(1), 35-53. doi:10.1093/clipsy.9.1.35.

Ekas, N., Whitman, T., & Shivers, C. (2008). Religiosity, Spirituality, and Socioemotional Functioning in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism DevDisord, 39(5), 706-719. doi:10.1007/s10803-008-0673-4

Kashdan, T., Pelham, W., Lang, A., Hoza, B., Jacob, R., & Jennings, J. et al. (2002). Hope and Optimism as Human Strengths in Parents of Children with Externalizing Disorders: Stress is in the Eye of the Beholder. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21(4), 441-468. doi:10.1521/jscp.21.4.441.22597

Papageorgiou, V., & Kalyva, E. (2010). Self-reported needs and expectations of parents of children with autism spectrum disorders who participate in support groups. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(4), 653-660. Retrieved from

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