Title: Predictors of perceived negative impact in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder.
Authors: Bishop, Somer L; Richler, Jennifer; Cain, Albert C; Lord, Catherine.
Source: American Journal on Mental Retardation. Vol 112(6) Nov 2007, 450-461.

This study, conducted at the University of Michigan, explores what factors predict how mothers perceive the possible negative impact of having a child with Autism. The researchers evaluated data from 110 children with autism spectrum disorders and their mothers. Surprisingly, a race difference was found. The researchers found that African American mothers reported lower negative impact of having a child with autism when compared to Caucasian mothers. At least two possible explanations were provided by the authors 1) It is possible that African American mothers have better skills for coping with daily stress than Caucasian mothers, possibly because they are exposed to higher levels of every day stressors , or 2) it is possible that African American mothers in general experience more daily stressors and therefore may be less likely to attribute their stress to their children. Higher repetitive behaviors and lower adaptive behaviors (as measured by the Vineland scale) were the two child variables most highly associated with perceived negative impact. What does “perceived” negative impact mean? This distinction is made to separate “perceived” from “real” negative impact. It is possible that people have an accurate perception of the negative impact of having a child with autism, but it is also possible that such perception does not necessarily reflect reality.

PS, Congrats Somer (old college friend).

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