Quality of Life in Immigrant Parents of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparison With Parents From the Host Culture

  • Marie MillauEmail author
  • Mélina Rivard
  • Catherine Mello
Original Paper



Studies conducted on families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) indicate that the period following the child’s diagnosis can be challenging, especially for immigrant families. Indeed, they tend to have additional difficulties in accessing and using ASD diagnosis and early intervention services. To date, few studies have contrasted the experiences of immigrant and native families.


During the period following their child’s ASD diagnosis, 104 immigrant and Canadian-born mothers and fathers completed the Beach Center FQOL Scale and provided ratings of perceived support.


Immigrant families were less satisfied with their FQOL than Canadian-born parents, but no gender differences were observed. However, gender and immigration-status related patterns emerged with respect to the relative importance and satisfaction levels across dimensions of FQOL. Additionally, fewer immigrant families reported having access to external support, a predictor of FQOL, than Canadian families.


Although no statistically significant gender differences emerged, patterns in the data suggest that each parent may benefit from different services. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of developing programs that take into account parents’ gender and cultural background and provide means of developing external support networks.


Autism spectrum disorder Family quality of life Parenting Immigrant families 



The authors would like to thank all the research assistants for their assistance in data collection. The authors also wish to thank the participating rehabilitation centers (Centres de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle et en troubles envahissant du développement de la Montérégie-Est et de Montréal) for their collaboration, as well as all the families who participated in the present study.

Author Contributions

M.M.: Analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. M.R.: participated in the design and writing of the study, collaborated in the writing of the paper. C.M.: participated in the interpretation of findings, collaborated in the writing, translation, and editing of the final manuscript.


This work was supported by grants by the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of two institutional research committees (the University du Québec à Montréal and the Joint Research Ethics Board for Public Rehabilitation Centers for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and ASD in Québec) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.The Pennsylvania State University–BerksReadingUSA

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