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Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Stress: Insights for Practitioners from Fragile X Syndrome Research

Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Stress: Insights for Practitioners from Fragile X Syndrome Research

As practitioners in the field of special education, understanding the unique challenges faced by mothers of children with Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is crucial for providing effective support. A recent study titled Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Stress and Their Relationships to Characteristics of the Child With Fragile X Syndrome offers valuable insights that can help us enhance our practice.

This study highlights the elevated rates of depressive symptoms (35%) and anxiety (15%) among mothers of children with FXS. The research used both self-report measures and physiological indicators, such as heart rate variability (HRV), to assess maternal well-being. Findings suggest that mothers of children with FXS often exhibit HRV profiles similar to those experiencing chronic stress or depression.

Key findings from the study include:

For practitioners, these findings underscore the importance of a dual approach that supports both the child and the mother. Here are some actionable steps:

Moreover, the use of physiological measures like HRV can offer more objective insights into maternal stress levels, complementing self-report data. Wearable technology and telehealth procedures, as used in the study, can facilitate this kind of comprehensive assessment even in remote settings.

By adopting these strategies, we can better support the mental health and well-being of mothers of children with FXS, ultimately benefiting the entire family unit.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Stress and Their Relationships to Characteristics of the Child With Fragile X Syndrome.


Citation: Bullard, L., Harvey, D., & Abbeduto, L. (2021). Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Stress and Their Relationships to Characteristics of the Child With Fragile X Syndrome. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 716585. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.716585

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