Mothers' attributions following their child's diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder: exploring links with maternal levels of stress, depression and expectations about their child's future
Dale, E., Jahoda, A. and Knott, F. (2006) Mothers' attributions following their child's diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder: exploring links with maternal levels of stress, depression and expectations about their child's future. Autism, 10 (5). pp. 463-479. ISSN 1362-3613
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1177/1362361306066600
Although the impact of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) on the family is well recognized, the way mothers attempt to make sense of the diagnosis is largely unexplored. However, in other disabilities, attributions have been shown to predict a variety of outcomes including maternal wellbeing and engagement in treatment. Using Weiner's (198S) three-dimensional model, 16 mothers were interviewed to examine the nature and impact of their beliefs about their child's ASD using semi-structured interviews and measures of depression, parenting stress and expectations for their child's future. The findings suggested that mothers made a diverse and complex range of attributions that were consistent with Weiner's dimensions of locus of cause, stability and controllability. The nature of their attributions reflected particular difficulties associated with ASDs, such as uncertainties regarding cause and prognosis. Taking account of mothers' search for meaning will better enable professionals to support families following diagnosis.