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How ethnicity and neurodiversity affect caregivers’ ideal affect: an exploratory study comparing Asian and European American parents of children with and without autism

Principal Investigator(s):

Shuqi Yu

Grant Type:

Graduate Research




Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Year Awarded:



In Progress




Past research has shown that parents of children with autism have significantly higher parental stress and more risks of having mental illnesses. Among them, Asian-American families raising autistic children showed particularly concerning mental health conditions. These findings may result from misunderstandings of the populations’ culturally-specific needs (e.g., emotional goals). Therefore, the current study is aimed to initially identify the ideal affect of parents of children with autism. We hypothesize that: 1) parents’ ideal affect differs by ethnicity (Asian American v.s. European American); 2) parents’ ideal affect differs by neurotype of the children (autistic v.s. nondisabled); 3) ethnicity interacts with family neurotype to influence parents’ ideal affect; 4) after controlling covariates, a parent’s cultural orientation mediates the association between ethnicity and ideal affect. The current study will use a single online survey that includes assessments of parental stress and satisfaction, parents’ self-stigma, and their ideal effect and actual effect. About 120 participants will be recruited by sending flyers to national online autism communities, an autism service institution, and a research recruitment platform. The current study will provide a greater understanding of how sociocultural contexts shape people’s emotional goals and provide implications of Affect Valuation theory for clinical contexts.