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Relations between coping mechanisms, stress, and experiential avoidance in parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders

1 July 2012


The aim of the present study was to examine the relationships between parental stress, coping, and experiential avoidance in parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This study reviewed both empirical and theoretical literature on stress, coping, and experiential avoidance, as well as empirically tested the relationships between these three constructs in a group of caregivers of children with ASD. Participants included 17 caregivers of children with ASD who completed an online survey. The survey consisted of four questionnaires; the Brief COPE (Carver, 1997), the Parental Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995), the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen & Williams, 1998), and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, Second Edition (Hayes et al., 2006). Results indicated that engagement in emotion-focused coping was correlated with high levels of stress. Additionally, results indicated a positive relationship between the use of experiential avoidance and stress. Female caregivers in this study engaged in significantly higher levels of emotion-focused coping than did male caregivers. No gender differences were found in the level of experiential avoidance engaged in by caregivers in this study.


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