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09/01/2010

Resilience in Families with an Autistic Child


By: Abraham P. Greeff and Kerry-Jan van der Walt

Abstract: The primary aim of this study was to identify characteristics and resources that families have that enable them to adapt successfully and be resilient despite the presence of an autistic child in the family. The study was rooted within the contextual framework of the Resilience Model of Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation of McCubbin and McCubbin (1996). Parents of 34 families whose children attend a special school for autistic learners in the Western Cape, South Africa completed self-report questionnaires and answered an open-ended question. Resilience factors identified in this study include higher socioeconomic status; social support; open and predictable patterns of communication; a supportive family environment, including commitment and flexibility; family hardiness; internal and external coping strategies; a positive outlook on life; and family belief systems.
 
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