Main Article Content
The objective of this study was to investigate the predictors of primary family caregiver burden when proving care for children with autism who were registered to The Special Education Center in the West-Coast Southern Thailand, Region 4. The center takes its’ responsibilities on the child with autism and other disorders over 5 provinces including Trang, Krabi, Pang-Nga, Ranong, and Phuket. The McCubbin and Patterson’s double ABCX model of family adaptation was used as the framework of the study. The study sample consisted of 168 primary family caregivers of 168 children with autism. Data were collected by 5 questionnaires: 1) The “Demographic Data Questionnaire for the Child with Autism”, 2) The “Demographic Data Questionnaire for the Primary Family Caregiver”, 3) The “Brief COPE” developed by Carver, 4) The “Caregiver Burden Scale” developed by Montgomery, and 5) The open-ended question for the primary family caregivers. The content validity was examined by 3 experts. The reliabilities of the “Brief COPE” and the “Caregiver Burden Scale” were examined using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient with the values of 0.82 and 0.78 respectively. Descriptive statistics and stepwise multiple regression were used for data analysis.
The results revealed that the primary family caregiver burden in providing care for the children with autism was at a moderate level. The demographic characteristics of the primary family caregivers and the demographic characteristics of the children with autism were not significantly related to the primary family caregiver burden. Significantly, caregiver’s coping strategies was positively related to the primary family caregiver burden and could explain 6.90 percent of the variance in primary family caregiver burden.This study indicated that health care providers should enhance the primary family caregivers’ adaptation or perceived caregiver burden in caring for their children with autism, once, by information support or other social support. It can be help them coped with stress particularly by problem-focused and emotional-focused instead of passive avoidance or using drugs.