Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Immigrant families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face significant challenges in accessing and using rehabilitation services appropriate for their child’s disorder. Compared to families native to their host country, the stress experienced by these families in relation to their child’s condition may be magnified by their immigrant status. This study compared self-reported parenting stress levels among 24 mothers and 17 fathers who had immigrated to Canada to income-matched, Canadian-born parents. Overall, Canadian-born parents tended to report higher stress levels than immigrant parents, but this may be primarily due to the high stress levels among Canadian-born fathers relative to immigrant fathers and mothers from both types of families. These findings highlight the necessity of using supplemental and specialized stress measures when focusing on immigrant families, for whom stress associated with the immigration process may compound or manifest separately from parenting stress. Cultural influences on the perception of ASD (its causes, treatment, and prognosis), children’s place in the family, and parents’ roles in childrearing may also impact stress.

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