Depression and mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder

Depression And Mothers Of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Depression and mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder

translation: Shawq Al-Qahtani

Half of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder have elevated depressive symptoms

According to a new study published by UC San Francisco researchers, It has been shown that about 50% of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from high symptoms of depression. While the percentage was much lower (6% to 13.6%) for mothers with children with normal development.
Previous studies indicate that having a parent suffer from depression may increase the risk that children will suffer from mental health and behavioral problems. But this study reached different results, which is that maternal depression does not increase behavioral problems in their children.

The researchers found that children’s behavioral problems may increase the rate of depression diagnosis among their mothers. Unlike depression in mothers, it did not cause an increase in behavioral problems in children.

Detecting depression in mothers does not exacerbate the child’s behavioral problems, especially for mothers who have children with autism spectrum disorder.

To help alleviate the guilt that many mothers feel over their child’s diagnosis and behavior problems, “We hope these findings reassure mothers that the difficulties they may face due to depression and stress caused by caring for their children are common,” says Roubinov. “Depression does not increase their children’s behavior problems,” because self-blame and guilt among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder are common and exacerbate depression and low life satisfaction over time.

In this study, The researchers measured maternal depression and child behavior problems in a sample of 86 mothers and children for 18 months. Half of the mothers had children with autism spectrum disorder and half had children with typical development. The ages of the children in this study ranged from 2 to 16 years. 75% of the majority of children are preschool age or younger.

Maternal depression was measured, which is a scale filled out by mothers. The child’s behavior was also measured through the mother’s report, which focuses on external behaviors such as attacks, seizures, anger, and violence. The researchers believe that future studies should also examine the relationship between maternal depression and symptoms of subsequent childhood disorders (such as withdrawal, anxiety, and social reactivity).

Previous studies indicate an association between maternal depression and behavioral problems in children. However, There are few studies that discuss these associations. It is known that families of children with autism spectrum disorder suffer from more conflicts in marriage. Less satisfaction and many other challenges. According to Professor Roubinov, “A stressful family environment may be transmitted to family members and may change the way mothers and children interact with each other.” “If we want to see whether the link between maternal and child health is different in a high-stress family system,” Roubinov said, Such as families with a child with autism spectrum disorder.” But researchers found that stress is not the only link between families. Roubinov said: “Many mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder also feel high levels of emotional closeness and positive interactions with their children, These are important experiences on which supportive programs can be built.”

after school, The researchers offered mindfulness classes to all parents to help deal with the stress of parenting. And he said Epel : “Parents were grateful to share common challenges and learn internal strategies to cope with them.

Several studies have shown that mindfulness training can help relieve the stress of parenting. They also found that mothers and fathers showed improved mental health.

Epel pointed out Also, it is important to experience and notice positive emotions and joy even in difficult life situations. He said, “Given the impact of constant psychological stress on health and mood, Parents need social support in addition to supporting services for the child. “It is as important to provide support for parents’ mental health as it is to provide support for children’s mental health.”

So, Doctors must be alert to notice psychological pressures on parents. and be prepared to provide support to them, Especially for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders.