Caregivers of a child with a neurodevelopmental disability are more vulnerable to mental health difficulties. These difficulties are influenced by the child’s challenging behaviours, and the caregiver’s coping strategies; factors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. An online mixed methods survey was conducted on caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (n = 43) and children who are typically developing (n = 67). The results showed that presence of challenging behaviours related to neurodevelopmental disability, and caregiver coping strategies predicted caregiver psychological distress during lockdown. Themes that emerged included ‘confusing messages and guidance’, ‘loss of freedom’ and ‘unsupported and forgotten’. The results demonstrate the pressing need for the implementation of appropriate support to protect the mental health of caregivers across the UK.


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Cite as

Gillespie-Smith, K., McConachie, D., Ballantyne, C., Auyeung, B. & Goodall, K. 2021, 'The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on psychological distress in family caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disability in the UK', Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-05132-3

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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