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A comparative study of family functioning processes of families with a child with autism in Turkey and in the United States

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2009
Çelimli, Şeniz
This study aimed to investigate the differences in parenting stress, coping ways, and family functioning variables of families with a preschool-aged child with autism from Turkey and from the United States (U.S.) and to find out how the factors of parenting stress, coping ways, and social support predict the adaptability of the families in terms of cohesion and flexibility in families of children with autism from Turkey and from the U.S. For this study, only the mothers of a child with autism aged between two and seven years old are included from both cultures. Multivariate Analyses of Covariance (MANCOVA) were conducted for comparing the mothers from both cultures in terms of parentig stress, coping ways, and family functioning variables. According to these analyses, while mothers did not diffenentiate for parenting stress variable, both groups of mothers were found to use different coping ways and to show different family functioning characteristics. Turkish mothers were found to use more problem-focused coping ways than their American counterparts. Moreover, mothers from Turkey were found to report higher flexibility and enmeshment than mothers from the U.S. In order to find out the predictors of family cohesion and flexibility, series of Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses were conducted for both groups of mothers separately. These analyses revealed different predictors of family cohesion and flexibility for mothers of children with autism from Turkey and from the U.S. The differences in group comparison and regression analyses were discussed in accordance with the relevant literature.