Study on Family Cohesion and Adaptability of Caregivers of Children with ASD and Its Influencing Factors



Objectives. The current study aimed to examine family cohesion and adaptability in Chinese caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The authors used the concept of Circumplex Model as a theoretical background for this study. Background. With the number of children being diagnosed with ASD having increased in recent years, more and more caregivers of children with ASD may experience long-term challenges and stress related to the scope of the care and the psychological burden. In general, family cohesion and adaptability are important sources of support for families. Therefore, it’s imperative to examine family cohesion and adaptability and the influencing factors in caregivers of children with ASD. Study design. The study examined the level of family cohesion and adaptability by calculating the scores of the scales and comparing them with the national norm. The study explored the influencing factors by using difference tests and multiple linear regression analysis. Participants. 168 caregivers of children with ASD from Sichuan province in China. Measurements. A brief demographic questionnaire and Chinese version of Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES II-CV). Results. Caregivers of children with ASD scored significantly higher on family cohesion than that of the norm, while significantly lower on adaptability. Variables including child’s functional level, caregiver’s marital status, employment status, and place of residence all had significant predictive power on both family cohesion and adaptability, while monthly income also had significant predictive power on family cohesion. Conclusions. Family cohesion perceived by Chinese caregivers of children with ASD was at a higher level, while their adaptability was at a lower level. Both family cohesion and adaptability were influenced by children’s functional level, caregivers’ marital status, employment status, place of residence, while cohesion was also influenced by family income. These factors may be used as predictors of family cohesion and adaptability in the counselling practice and help to develop services supporting the development of more balanced family types.

General Information

Keywords: children with ASD, caregivers, family cohesion, family adaptability

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This research was funded by a grant from Leshan Normal University (S16001), the Research Center of Applied Psychology in Sichuan at Chengdu of China (CSXL-172014), and the University of Palacký, Faculty of Education (VaV_PdF_2020_004).

Acknowledgements. We are grateful acknowledge the families of children with ASD who participated in this study and kindly donated their time to share some aspects of their family life.

For citation: Lei X., Kantor J. Study on Family Cohesion and Adaptability of Caregivers of Children with ASD and Its Influencing Factors. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2020. Vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 70–85. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2020110305.


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Information About the Authors

Xianmei Lei, lecturer in College of the Special Education, Leshan Normal University, China, ORCID:, e-mail:

Jiri Kantor, PhD, associate professor, The Institute of Special Education Studies, Palacky University Olomouc, Olomouc, Czechia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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