This study examined the interplay of mothers’ coherent representations of their child (i.e., multidimensional and balanced view); resolution of the child’s ASD diagnosis (i.e., acceptance); and emotional availability to the child in the unique cultural context of Arab-Israeli families. Participants were 46 mothers and their 2–8 year old sons. Coherent representations and resolution of the diagnosis were assessed using narrative measures. Emotional availability (namely, sensitivity, structuring, and lack of intrusiveness and hostility) was observed during mother–child play interactions. Results suggested that coherent and resolved mothers were more emotionally available than incoherent and/or unresolved mothers. These findings highlight the importance of supporting mothers’ ability to accept the child’s diagnosis and see the unique characteristics of the child beyond his ASD symptoms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Herta and Paul Amir Faculty of Social Science, the University of Haifa, Israel. We express our sincere gratitude to the families who participated in this research. The article is based in part on master’s theses by Nagham Baransi and Kholud Amara. A version of the paper was presented in May 2016 at the 15th World Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, Prague, Czech Republic.
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Emotional availability
- Five minute speech sample-coherence
- Maternal sensitivity
- Resolution of the diagnosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology