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Linda Mason is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

A review of the literature provides ample research about caregiver stress in relationship to healthcare needs, aging, and mental illness. However, there is limited research about caregiver stress in regard to families that care for a child with disability. Further limited in scope is research about mothers who care for an older adolescent with diagnosed autism. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the lived experience of six mothers caring for an older adolescent diagnosed with autism. The question about what causes stress resulted in findings: isolation, coping with their child's challenging behaviors, and frustration with the establishment. The question about what helps to relieve stress resulted in findings: professional behavior or support teams, support from others, and church or spiritual connection. The question about what are the rewards or joys experienced resulted in finding: their child's accomplishments. Implications of the present study are discussed in regard to recommendations for clinicians, advocacy groups, and organizations to create guidelines for services and intervention for mothers who care for an older adolescent diagnosed with autism. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink http://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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