Leisure as a Coping Resource for Parent Caregivers of Children Living with Autism
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AbstractThis qualitative study explored the lived experiences of life challenges and leisure as a stress-coping resources among parent caregiver of children living with autism. These parent caregiver experiences were obtained through in-depth interviews of four mothers of children living with autism. Data were then qualitatively analyzed to ascertain meaningful themes. The results of data analysis demonstrated that parent caregivers face a number of barriers related to their leisure participation in four areas: (a) caregiving responsibilities and demands, (b) COVID-19 related barriers (c) time-related barrier and (d) interpersonal barrier. Although the participants of this study identified several barriers as parent caregivers, the findings show that they were able to negotiate some of these barriers to participate in their leisure experiences that enhanced their stress-coping efforts. The findings also revealed that leisure was used as a stress-coping resource in four ways: (1) rejuvenation through leisure, (2) mood enhancement through leisure, (3) distance from stressors through leisure, and (4) social experiences through leisure. This study discussed the importance of recreation therapists advocating for leisure education and casual forms of leisure among parent caregivers for effective coping with caregiver-related stress. This study provided practical implications for recreation therapists and other health care professionals in a related field to better understand the unique needs of this population and encourage leisure participation as a resource of stress-coping.
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