In-the-moment experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder: a comparison by household status and region of residence

Tomomi McAuliffe*, Reinie Cordier, Yu Wei Chen, Sharmila Vaz, Yvonne Thomas, Torbjörn Falkmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study compared the in-the-moment experiences among mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by their household status (i.e., single versus coupled) and region of residence (i.e., regional versus major city area). Methods: An experience sampling method was employed to collect data, and a total of 40 mothers used an iOS device to record activity types and in-the-moment experiences for one week during school term. Mann–Whitney U test and multilevel analysis were conducted to compare the experiences of these mothers. Results: The analyses found the following results: 1) mothers spent most time in childcare and least time in self-care activities; 2) coupled mothers were more likely to feel supported; 3) coupled mothers were less likely to feel supported in domestic tasks; 4) mothers from major city were more likely to feel challenged in self-care activities; and 5) mothers from major city were more likely to feel supported in productivity tasks. Conclusion: Limited but significant differences between single and coupled mothers, as well as mothers from regional and major city areas, were found. Future research direction and service provisions were suggested.Implications for rehabilitation This study shows that all mothers spent the most time on childcare and the least amount of time on self-care activities. In-the-moment experiences between single and coupled mothers, as well as mothers from major cities and mothers from regional areas, differ somewhat; however, this study builds evidence to support that these mothers’ experiences are similar. The result of the study indicates that single mothers require extra support as they carry similar levels of responsibilities as coupled mothers, but without the support of a partner. Promoting a sense of control may assist all mothers to fully engage in parenting activities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

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