Journal of Autism

Journal of Autism

ISSN 2054-992X

Risk and protective factors for the health of primary care-givers of children with autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disability: a narrative review

Jenny Fairthorne1,2,3*, Yuka Mori3 and Helen Leonard3

*Correspondence: Jenny Fairthorne

1. British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital, 4480 Oak St Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4, Canada.

Author Affiliations

2. Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 3DD, UK.

3. Telethon Kids Institute, 100 Roberts Rd, Subiaco, Perth, 6008, Australia.


Background: Primary care-givers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID) have poorer health and quality of life than primary care-givers of typically developing children. We aimed to review original research which described factors impacting the health of primary care-givers of children with ASD or ID and to discuss how these factors might influence care-giver health.

Methods: We searched electronic databases and retrieved 33 relevant research articles.

Results: Factors impacting primary care-giver health included child behaviour, support and diagnostic issues. We explain how these factors might impact care-giver health and how they might act differentially in care-givers of children with different types of ASD or ID. Interventions to moderate one or more risk factors could pave the way for improved primary care-giver health.

Keywords: Autism, intellectual disability, mothers; care-givers, health, review

ISSN 2054-992X
Volume 5
Abstract Download