Health of mothers of children with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder: a review of the literature

Main Article Content

Jenny Fairthorne http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9884-0117 Nick de Klerk Helen Leonard

Abstract

Background

The deficits associated with intellectual disability (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) place a burden on their co-residing families which may impact maternal health.

Objectives

We aimed to compare the health of mothers of children with ID or ASD to that of other mothers and to each other, according to the disability sub-group of their child.

Methods

Due to the broad scope of articles in our chosen area, we searched data-bases multiple times, each time using a different combination of search terms related to ID and ASD, carers and health. Papers were retained which met six criteria and were then sorted into two groups. Firstly, we grouped all papers which compared the health of mothers of children with ID or ASD to other mothers. Secondly, we grouped papers which compared maternal health by the sub-group of the child’s disability.

Results

We retained 60 papers. Researchers consistently identified poorer health in the mothers of children with ID or ASD. Further, the research suggested that mothers of children with Down syndrome had the least impaired health and mothers of children with ASD, and particularly ASD without ID, the most impaired health.

Conclusion and implications

Providing more support, such as home services, for mothers of children with ID or ASD and health issues, might make the way for the improved health of these mothers. Importantly, mothers of children with ASD without ID were identified as a group needing special assistance. Further research into the correlates of poorer health in mothers of children with ID or ASD is implicated so that more informed supports and interventions can be developed to assist these mothers.

 

Article Details

How to Cite
FAIRTHORNE, Jenny; DE KLERK, Nick; LEONARD, Helen. Health of mothers of children with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder: a review of the literature. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], n. 3, june 2015. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <http://journals.ke-i.org/index.php/mra/article/view/204>. Date accessed: 19 nov. 2017.
Keywords
Health, mothers, disability, autism, Down, Asperger, parents, psychiatric
Section
Review Articles

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