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27-05-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2020

A Time-use Study of Immigrant Mothers’ Positive Emotions Raising a Child with ASD

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2020
Shana R. Cohen, Hye Kyung Lee, Soojung Kim, Alison Wishard Guerra
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Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


To understand Mexican heritage mothers’ positive emotional experiences raising their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we examined whether mothers’ positive emotions varied by their household income, educational attainment, and their occupational and marital status. We also examined how emotions varied by mothers’ interpersonal context (i.e., adults potentially available to provide support at various times of the day). Thirty-two Mexican heritage mothers who cared for at least one child with ASD completed five daily diary surveys over five days within a variety of interpersonal contexts. HLM analysis of 697 surveys showed that employed mothers reported less confidence than unemployed mothers (p < 0.05). Mothers who earned more than $25,000 annually reported being more confident (p < 0.05) and calmer (p < 0.01) than mothers who earned less than $15,000 annually. Mothers who experienced positive emotions (excitement, confidence, and calm) tended to report a higher household income and were more likely to be married. Notably, mothers’ education status did not predict positive emotional states possibly due to limited variability within the sample. Contrary to our expectation, mothers reported being more excited when they were alone with their child than when they were not with their child (p < 0.05), or when they were with their child and other family members (p < 0.01). This methodology provided a rich understanding of the heterogeneity of mothers’ positive emotional experiences in a population that is marginalized and understudied.

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