Defining crisis in families of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
Bottom Line: Understanding crisis in the family is important to mental health practice since it can serve as a guide in delivering service to at-risk families.Thematic analysis revealed that crisis is characterized by factors influencing four major areas: demands, internal capabilities, external resources, and subjective appraisal.Understanding what crisis means to families of individuals with autism spectrum disorder can help inform effective preventative and crisis services.
Affiliation: York University, Canada email@example.com.Show MeSH
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Mentions: During the clustering stage of analysis, a decision was made to consult the definition of crisis by Roberts (2000) and the FAAR model (Patterson, 1988) in order for theory triangulation with existing social science theories (Giacomini and Cook, 2000). The emerging themes were not fully represented by either of these models independently; however, some of the elements in this analysis were similar to those presented by the two definitions. The results indicate that crisis is characterized by factors influencing four major areas: demands, internal capabilities, external resources, and subjective appraisal, similar to the core features of Roberts’ and the FAAR model’s definition of crisis. Figure 1 illustrates the breakdown of the themes and subthemes, along with the frequency of the participants identifying each one. The interactions between these factors are represented by the bidirectional arrows present in the thematic model of crisis, with the experiences of these mothers suggesting that crisis is multifaceted. We also present the age of the parent and child next to each quote, to further contextualize the findings, given our age range. As shown in Table 1, across age groups (under 13, 13–18, and 19+ years), the most commonly occurring characteristic of crisis referred to demands. For those aged 13 years or above, the second most common characteristic was of internal capabilities, while for the youngest group, it was issues with external resources.