Psychological Wellbeing in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Are the Effects of Parental Stress Mediated by Self-Compassion?

Student, A. (2017) Psychological Wellbeing in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Are the Effects of Parental Stress Mediated by Self-Compassion? Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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The present study was conducted in order to extend the research conducted by Neff and Faso (2014), who found that self-compassion was a stronger predictor of parental well-being compared to autism symptom severity. However, although Neff and Faso (2014) provided extensive evidence to suggest that using self-compassion as a coping mechanism can produce many positive outcomes for the parent, they did not investigate whether self-compassion within parents has an impact on their children. Therefore, the present study investigated whether parental self-compassion could impact anxious and depressive symptomatology identified in children. Focusing on both children living with autism and typically developing children. The present study recruited 114 participants through opportunistic sampling and using a snowballing sampling technique (Goodman, 1961) in schools, autism charities and social media. The main inclusion criterion was that participants needed to be a parent of at least one child, with the child/children being within the age range of 8-12 years old. Data was obtained through an online questionnaire which measured: parenting stress, self-compassion, and anxious and depressive symptomatology identified within children. After data was collected it was analysed using three hierarchical regressions. The results of the present study suggest that parents of children living with autism experience more parental stress, with self-compassion acting as mediator in the relationship between parental stress and child diagnostic status. In addition, children living with autism experience more anxious and depressive symptomatology, compared to typically developing children, with parental stress being a significant predictor of anxious and depressive symptomatology within children. However, self-compassion failed to demonstrate a mediating effect on this relationship, which could perhaps be due to the lack of power within this study. The present study used larger more diverse sample, compared to Neff and Faso (2014), therefore providing a more generalizable sample. However, a major limitation of this study is that it used a parental evaluation to measure the psychological wellbeing of children, which is a subjective non-self-report method. Furthermore, it is suggested that future research investigates the effectiveness of self-compassion interventions, and uses a sample of children who have been professionally diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BSc (Hons) Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:10
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 12:10

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