Sim, Angela, Sofi Fristed, Reinie Cordier, Sharmila Vaz, Rebecca Kuzminski, & Torbjorn Falkmer (2019, September). Viewpoints on what is important to maintain relationship satisfaction in couples raising a child with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 65, 1-13. (doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2019.04.008) (Link:

Abstract: Background: Despite the challenges associated with raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), many couples maintain satisfying relationships. However, it is not clear which factors couples prioritise as most important to this positive adaptation. Methods: This study used Q-methodology to explore the viewpoints on factors most important to maintaining relationship satisfaction from the perspective of those experiencing it. Data from 43 caregivers raising a child with ASD were analysed using by-person varimax rotation factor analysis. Results: Two key viewpoints were identified: 1) Building effective communication through openness, honesty and conflict resolution, and 2) Building a strong partnership by sharing parenting responsibilities. Conclusion: Couples should be supported to strengthen communication processes and work in partnership to raise their child with ASD through family-centred interventions aimed at promoting relationship satisfaction.

Torbjorn Falkmer <> is on the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia; and the Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.