Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Jul 19, 2021; 11(7): 388-402
Published online Jul 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i7.388
Mental health of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder during COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review
Büşra Yılmaz, Merve Azak, Nevin Şahin
Büşra Yılmaz, Nevin Şahin, Department of Women's Health and Gynecologic Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa, Istanbul 34381, Turkey
Merve Azak, Department of Pediatric Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Istanbul University- Cerrahpasa, Istanbul 34381, Turkey
Author contributions: Yılmaz B, Azak M, and Şahin N contributed to the study design, data collection, and manuscript writing; Yılmaz B and Azak M conducted the data analyses; Şahin N supervised study and made critical revisions for important intellectual content; All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare that they have no competing interests.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Merve Azak, MSc, RN, BSN, Research Assistant, Department of Pediatric Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Istanbul University- Cerrahpasa, Abide-i Hurriyet St. Sisli, Istanbul 34381, Turkey. merve.azak@iuc.edu.tr
Received: February 7, 2021
Peer-review started: February 7, 2021
First decision: March 16, 2021
Revised: March 26, 2021
Accepted: June 3, 2021
Article in press: June 3, 2021
Published online: July 19, 2021
Abstract
BACKGROUND

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have great difficulties when their routines change, and this may affect the psychological well-being of their parents. For this reason, it is important to examine studies that address the mental health of parents in order to adapt to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

AIM

To determine the mental health status of parents with children diagnosed with ASD in the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS

The study, which is a systematic review, was conducted between December 15, 2020 and December 30, 2020 by scanning articles in English. The Scopus, Science Direct, PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases were used for scanning. The keywords COVID-19 AND (“autism” OR “autistic” OR “autism spectrum disorder”) AND parent AND (“mental health” OR “anxiety” OR “stress”) were used in the search process. The inclusion criteria in the study were findings regarding the mental health of parents with children diagnosed with ASD in the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing their anxiety and stress situations, being a research article, and accessing the full text of the article.

RESULTS

In the study, a total of 6389 articles were reached, and the full texts of 173 articles were evaluated for eligibility. After the articles excluded by the full-text search were eliminated, 12 studies involving 7105 parents were included in the analysis. The findings obtained from the articles containing data on mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic of parents with children with autism spectrum disorder were discussed in three groups. These were findings on the experiences of parents with children with ASD in the COVID-19 pandemic regarding the areas where parents with children with ASD need support in the COVID-19 pandemic and methods of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic for parents with children with ASD. In the systematic review, it was determined that the anxiety and stress of the parents increased, they needed more support compared to the pre-pandemic period, and they had difficulty coping.

CONCLUSION

In this systematic review, it was concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the mental health of the parents of children with ASD.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, COVID-19, Mental health, Pandemic, Parents

Core Tip: Parents with a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have a hard time explaining the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in routines and safety measures to their children in a comprehensible way. Parents may feel stressed and anxious as they have difficulty managing the process and need support in using effective coping methods. It is important to analyze the results of studies on the mental health of parents with children with ASD in the COVID-19 pandemic period. This is the first study to systematically examine the mental health status of the parents of children with ASD in the COVID-19 pandemic period.