Study of the psychological status of mothers of autism spectrum disorder children

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Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health


Introduction: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. These children depend on lifelong parental care leading to psychological distress and economic burden on the family Objectives: To assess the psychological status of mothers of ASD children attending the outpatient department of a South Indian tertiary care teaching hospital affiliated to Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. Method: A descriptive study was carried out on mothers of children diagnosed to have ASD. Mothers who had organic psychiatric problems were excluded. The symptom checklist 90 R was used to analyse the psychopathology Results: Thirty mothers of children with ASD were interviewed. Mean age group of the mothers was 28.4 years. Psychological assessment revealed that 20% of the mothers were normal. Depression was the most common psychopathology followed by anxiety seen in 33.3% and 30% of the mothers respectively. Anxiety was more in the mothers of male children (p=0.045) and depression was the predominant psychopathology observed in mothers with first born child affected with autism (p=0.028). More anxiety and depression was noted in nuclear families (p=0.005). Conclusions: Mothers of ASD children had significant psychopathology. High level of depression and anxiety in mothers of ASD children, male child, first born child and nuclear family were significant risk factors for the psychopathology.

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