Resilience in Family Members of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Literature
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Issues in Mental Health Nursing
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Worldwide, caregivers find caring for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) challenging. Family members must manage many aspects of care giving, which is demanding, overwhelming, and can affect the family members’ mental health. However learning how to be resilient may help family members overcome the stress and burden associated with caring for a person with ASD. A search was completed in Medline, PsycINFO, Proquest, Web of Science, and CINAHL using the key words “autism,” “caregivers,” “mothers,” and “fathers,” alone and in combination. Inclusion criteria were English language articles reporting studies with samples of children with ASD, as distinct from children with other intellectual or developmental disabilities. Fifty-eight articles that met these inclusion criteria were summarized and, from those, the authors selected 22 articles that included indicators of resilience. This integrative review highlights current research on resilience in adult family members of persons with ASD. Indicators of resilience, risk factors, protective factors, and outcomes of resilience were identified. The review indicates that parents of children with ASD who possess indicators of resilience are better able to manage the adversity associated with caring for children with ASD. Thus, enhancing resilience among family members of persons with autism may be beneficial to both the caregivers and care recipients.