Parents' explanatory beliefs concerning their child's Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Grounded Theory Approach

Prof Doc Thesis

Dunn, Tanya Elizabeth 2011. Parents' explanatory beliefs concerning their child's Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Grounded Theory Approach. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsDunn, Tanya Elizabeth
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Objectives: Currently there is no known single cause of Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD) and diagnosis is based on observable behavioural
characteristics. Research regarding theories about the aetiology of ASD have
been dominated by an academic perspective. However, parents with children
who have ASD will also have their own explanatory beliefs of their child's
difficulties. Research examining parents' beliefs surrounding their child's ASD
have shown both similarities and discrepancies between parental and academic
understandings. These discrepancies may impact on parental help seeking
behaviours and engagement with therapeutic services. The aim of this study is
to explore the different explanatory beliefs parents have when talking about
their child who has been diagnosed with ASD.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten parents of children
with ASD. Data collection and analysis was guided by the Grounded Theory
method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) which led to the production of a process
model grounded in the parents experiences.
Results: The core category of the process model was termed 'Accommodating
Autism', which reflected the parents' beliefs regarding ASD and had implications
for how they lived and coped with accommodating ASD within their families.
Accommodation involves a process of adaptation, specifically how the parents
have made adjustments to raising a child with ASD. The core category was
formed of four main categories 'Making Sense of ASD', 'Process of
Acceptance', 'Negotiating Difference'and 'Searching for an Explanation'.
Discussion: The study's findings from the analysis are located within the current
literature. The clinical implications of the findings include recommendations that
services need to become more explicit with families in acknowledging their
perspectives regarding the aetiology of ASD and there being other perspectives
available. Grief was also a key issue and emotional support for parents needs
to be addressed more openly.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

Publisher's version
File Access Level
Registered users only
Permalink -

  • 135
    total views
  • 1
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as