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Parental Stress and Coping Strategies among Korean-American Immigrant Parents of Children with ASD

Principal Investigator(s):

Irang Kim

Grant Type:

Graduate Research




University of Georgia

Year Awarded:


Year Completed:



Families; Miscellaneous


The purpose of the study is to explore parental stress and coping strategies among Korean-American (KA) immigrant parents with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The parents of children with ASD experience higher levels of stress than parents of children with other types of disabilities. The most significant sources of parental stress are the permanency of a child’s condition and insufficient social support, but using effective coping strategies can reduce the levels of parental stress. However, the research has primarily used white and middle-class samples and paid limited attention to diverse ethnic groups. Although the KA population is the fastest growing population in the United States, no study has examined the sources of parental stress and the coping strategies for KA parents of children with ASD.
A qualitative case study will be utilized for this study to explore the experience of caring for children with ASD among KA parents of children with ASD. Multiple sources of evidence, including in-depth interviews and documents, will be utilized. Three interviews will be conducted at one-month intervals with both mothers and fathers. Additionally, parents will be asked to write diary entries between interviews to provide a source of documents. All interviews will be transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the thematic analysis method. Participants’ diaries will be analyzed using the constant analysis method. The themes will be compared with interview data, which can raise additional questions for subsequent interviews.
As expected outcomes, KA immigrant families of children with ASD may experience difficulties and stress due to cultural differences and a lack of social supports. Their limited English proficiency might impact them when it comes to utilizing mainstream services. In addition, KA immigrant parents of children with ASD may report difficulties coming from cultural differences. In future studies, variables that are found in this study will be applied to immigrant families of children with ASD using quantitative method.

Published Journal Article

Kim, I., & Dababnah, S. (2020). Appreciation of the ‘subtle changes’: Perspectives of Korean American parents raising children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 32(2), 307-322. doi: 10.1007/s10882-019-09693-1

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2. Kim, I., & Dababnah, S. (2021). Transition to Adulthood: Perspectives of Korean Immigrant Parents of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. Advance online publications. doi:10.1177/21651434211043440

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