The Goldilocks rule: just the right amount of support for caregivers of autistic children

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Psychological distress is typically high in the context of caring for an autistic child. Caregivers with greater tangible support often report lower psychological distress. Sometimes, however, caregivers with greater tangible support have reported higher distress, and sometimes no association has been found. Curvilinear effects, not previously explored, might explain these mixed findings. This study explored this possibility. A sample of N=79 caregivers of autistic children completed questionnaires assessing tangible support and psychological distress. A curvilinear relationship between tangible support and psychological distress, taking the form of a ‘U-shaped’ curve, provided a better fit to the data than a linear relationship. The protective psychological effect of tangible support for caregivers of autistic children seems to exist up to a point only, with continued support beyond this point not to be recommended.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jan 2024

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