PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AS A PREDICTOR OF PARENTING STRESS AMONG PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM IN LAGOS, NIGERIA
Autism is a chronic condition characterized by deficit in social relations, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviours. Parents caring for autistic children are overwhelmed and exposed to chronic stress exacerbated by psychological variables. Previous studies have investigated child and parents’ factors in relation to abuse of these children. However, little is known about the influence of perceived social support on parenting stress of parents of children living with autism. Ex-post-facto, using the cross-sectional design was adopted and data was gathered from randomly selected parents of autistic children, attending Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Annex in Oshodi, Yaba, Lagos. Gender distribution of the parents revealed that most of them 71.4% were females, while the other 28.6% were males. Findings revealed that parents of children living with autism with low perceived social support (M=110.66, S.D= 5.88) were not significantly different in the level of parenting stress when compared to parents with high perceived social support (M=110.72, S.D =5.47). This demonstrates that there was no significant difference in the parenting stress as reported by parents of children living with autism with low and high level of perceived social support (t (47) = -.037, p>.05). Recommendations and suggestions were made from the findings of the study.
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