South African families raising children with autism spectrum disorders: relationship between family routines, cognitive appraisal and family quality of life


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Abstract

BackgroundThe purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between family routines, cognitive appraisal of the impact of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) on the family and family quality of life (FQOL) in families raising children with ASD in South Africa.MethodsA sample of 180 families of young children with ASD who were receiving disability-related services in the Gauteng province of South Africa completed a self-administered survey. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the direct relationship between the regularity of family routines and FQOL, and the mediating effect of cognitive appraisal on this relationship.ResultsThe results suggested a direct, positive relationship between the regularity of family routines and families' satisfaction with their FQOL. Furthermore, cognitive appraisal of the impact of ASD on the family mediated this relationship in a partial manner.ConclusionA higher frequency of regular family routines was strongly associated with a higher satisfaction level of FQOL. Also, cognitive appraisal of the impact of ASD acted as a mechanism through which the regularity of family routines influenced FQOL. We discuss the research and clinical implications of these findings.

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