Degree of Emotional Openness of Mothers with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to explore the dimensions of emotional openness in mothers with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Methods: Forty-seven Quebec mothers of children with ASD participated in this study. Mothers are aged between 28 and 51 years old. The average age of mothers is 38 years old. The Emotional Opening Dimensions (DOE-36) questionnaire (Reicherts, 1997, 2007) is used to assess the degree of emotional openness of mothers.
Results: Mean and standard deviations for the six dimensions of emotional openness are presented (Table 1). The weakest dimension is the normative restrictions of emotional openness whereas the highest dimension is the cognitive and conceptual representation of emotions. Correlations between the different dimensions of emotional openness are analyzed. The initial model of emotional openness is presented by including the different correlations found in the sample (Figure 1). Associations between the dimensions of emotional openness, the age of the mother, and the gender of the child were made. The age of the mother is positively and significantly associated with the cognitive and conceptual representation of emotions (r = 0.328 *), but with no other dimension of emotional openness. The gender of the child is negatively and significantly associated with the perception of external emotional indicators (z = -1.974 *) and the normative restrictions of emotional openness (z = -2.097 *). Thus, mothers with a male child have a lower score on the perception of external emotional indicators (m = 3.36) than mothers with a female child (m = 4.10). Also, mothers with a male child have a lower score on normative restrictions of emotional openness (m = 2.90) than mothers with one female child (m = 3.80).
Conclusions: This study highlights the profile of the emotional openness of mothers with children with ASD. Specific interventions can also be put in place to work on the weaknesses of the emotional openness of these mothers.
References: Reicherts, M., Genoud, P. A. et Zimmermann, G. (2012). L’ouverture émotionnelle : une nouvelle approche du vécu et du traitement émotionnels.Wavre, Belgique : Éditions Mardaga.