We assessed the role of religion in the coping of families of children with autism. Forty-five parents completed the Brief RCOPE; identified stressors of autism; and completed measures of psychological adjustement (depression and anxiety), stress-related growth, and religious outcome. A subsample (n-21) of parents was interviewed about their use of religious coping. Religious coping accounted for unique variance in measures of adjustment. Positive religious coping was associated with better religious outcome (e.g., changes in closeness to God/church and spiritual growth) and greater stress-related growth, whereas negative religious coping was associated with greater depressive affect and lower religious outcome. Interviews identified other ways that religion affected the coping process of these families beyond those already established in existing measures. These results will be useful to professionals working with families of children with autism and in designing interventions to meet the needs of parents for whom religion plays an important role.

Author(s): Nalini Tarakeshwar & Kenneth I. Pargament

Journal: Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Date: 2001

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 247-260

DOI: 10.1177/108835760101600408

Databased: Yes

Disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Categories: Congregations, Families