The relationship between Cognitive Distortions, Hopelessness, and Depression in Parents of Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Albania
Keywords: Cognitive distortions, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hopelessness, Depression, Parents, Autism stigma, Albania
The present study examines the relationship between cognitive distortions, levels of depression and hopelessness in parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Albania. Robust research evidence links CD with depression and this relationship is also evident in these parents as consistently they report higher levels of depression. Parents also hold negative beliefs and may feel hopeless about the future. Hopelessness is a distorted pessimistic view about the future and may be considered a cognitive distortion being linked to depression.
This is a prospective survey following a correlational research design. The mediating role of cognitive distortions between hopelessness and depression was investigated in a sample of 50 mothers and 28 fathers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Albania. It was hypothesized that specific CD, e.g., overgeneralization, are better predictors of depression than others.
A linear positive relationship was found between the three variables, Hopelessness is a fundamental parental condition, as mean scores indicated mild to severe levels for 62.9 % of the sample, while 62.8% scored at minimal levels for depression. The hypothesis about the mediating role of cognitive distortions was not supported; however, this result should be interpreted with caution, due to research limitations.
Labelling and Overgeneralization were found to be the best predictors of depression levels in this population. The study also makes an important point regarding stigma associated to an ASD diagnosis and highlights the need for future research studies about the impact this stigma might have in the development and maintenance of depression.