Date of Award

10-19-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gragg, Marcia

Keywords

Activation, Autism, Father, Physical Play, Play, Well-Being

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study investigated fathers’ physical play with their children with Autism (ASD), and the benefits of this play for fathers. Benefits included improvements in parenting stress, impact on parenting, and life satisfaction, which are challenges that fathers of children with ASD experience. Fathers of sons with ASD aged 4-11 (N = 60) completed an online survey, and 20 completed an additional phone interview. Multiple regression analyses revealed that more frequent physical play behaviours (i.e., tickling, piggyback riding) were associated with lower parenting stress scores for fathers. Analyses also revealed that higher satisfaction with play and relationship-quality were associated with lower parenting stress, lower impact on parenting, and higher life satisfaction for fathers. Results suggested that fathers’ benefit from more frequent physical play behaviours, and that the quality of this play is important to fathers’ benefits. The present study has implications for father-child play and father involvement in treatment programs.

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