Effects on Resilience of Caregivers of Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Positive Cognitions
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Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
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BACKGROUND: Approximately 2.8 million people in the United States are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Family caregivers manage many aspects of their care, which is demanding, overwhelming, and can affect their mental health. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of caregiver burden (risk factor) and positive cognitions (protective factors) on resourcefulness(resilience indicator) in 95 caregivers of persons with ASD. DESIGN: Descriptive, correlational, and cross-sectional. RESULTS: Positive cognitions explained 32% of the variance in resourcefulness, F(1, 93) = 44.49, p < .001, and as positive cognitions increased, caregivers’ resourcefulness increased. A substantial drop in the beta weight of caregiver burden from B = −.36 to −.04 when positive cognitions was entered the equation suggested that positive cognitions mediated the effect of caregiver burden on resourcefulness. CONCLUSION: The results support resilience theory and suggest a need for developing interventions to strengthen positive thinking among caregivers of persons with ASD.