Differential impact on parental quality of life: Comparing parents to children with autism spectrum disorder and those with other disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Avital Laufer, Esther Isman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Limited research has examined parental quality of life (QoL) for caregivers of children with special needs, mostly comparing parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to those with typical development. This study examines QoL and related variables during the COVID-19 pandemic among two comparable groups: parents of children with ASD and parents of children with other diagnoses (non-ASD). Method: The sample included 175 Israeli parents (ASD = 101; non-ASD = 74). The parents were surveyed about the pandemic's effects on family life, child's function, and their own psychological distress, resilience, and QoL. Results: Parents in both groups reported deterioration in their child's academic, emotional, social, and functioning performance. However, higher psychological distress and more deterioration in child behaviour were reported in the ASD group. In both groups, QoL was positively associated with the introduction of distance learning and parental resilience and negatively associated with psychological distress, deterioration in the child's behaviour and functioning, and increased time spent with the child at home. An interaction analysis indicated that deterioration in a child's behaviour was linked to QoL solely within the ASD group, while home atmosphere was associated with QoL in the non-ASD group. Conclusion: While the COVID-19 pandemic imposed similar challenges on both parental groups, there is evidence that it may have been more challenging for the ASD group. This calls for further examination concerning parents with special needs children, and accordingly, tailoring targeted and specific help for them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13227
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • child disability
  • parent
  • quality of life
  • special education

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