Parental Resilience and Mental Health 

Parents of Children with Autism and Parents of Typically Developing Children

Dear Parents,

I would like to invite you to take part in my PhD research about Parental Resilience and Mental Health (PRAM) which I'm carrying out as part of my training as a Clinical Psychologist in UCD (in conjunction with the HSE). Before you decide if you would like to take part, you need to understand why the research is being done and what it involves. Please take your time to consider and ask any questions if it is not clear or if you would like more information.

After you have read and considered the information, here is a link which will bring you to the survey. After you have completed the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win a fifty euro "One4all" voucher.

What's this all about?

Being a parent isn't always easy! While it can be a wonderful journey, it is also likely that you may encounter challenges and stresses along the way. My research looks at how parents cope with these challenges, what strategies are helpful or unhelpful. In particular, this research looks at how parents manage emotions during times of stress and how this contributes to resilience or mental health difficulties.

By identifying and understanding parental needs, we can learn how to best support all parents, especially vulnerable parents, such as parents of children with autism (CWA). In comparison to other parents, parents of CWA are vulnerable to:

Despite challenges, parents of CWA and parents of TD children show immense resilience! Research suggests that this capacity to remain resilient in the face of adversity is characteristic of positive mental health and I would like to understand how to encourage resilience and positive mental health in parents.

To carry out this research, I need:

If you are interested, please read on to find out what this would entail. Please take your time to read the information carefully, and discuss it with others if you wish. I am more than happy to discuss any queries you might have or if you would like more information.

What would taking part involve for me?

In addition to the online survey, there is an optional second part of the study. This involves taking part in a short (15 minutes) interview about managing emotions. If you choose to take part in this, you can take part via skype, phone or face to face. A link to further information on this part of the study is available at the end of the survey.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is entirely voluntary and your participation can be withdrawn at any time without having to explain why. Your participation or withdrawal will not affect you or your child's future relations with the HSE.   

Will the study benefit me? 

There is no direct benefit to you from taking part but as a parent you may find answering the survey has intrinsic interest. There is some evidence that people's self-awareness increases from reflecting on their emotion management. However, we cannot guarantee that you will receive any immediate benefits from the study. On the other hand, we do not expect that there will be any negative consequences for you from taking part in this research and answering the survey questions. However, if you, for your own reasons, think that reflecting on your emotion regulation, anxiety, stress and coping skills might possibly cause you discomfort at this time, please be aware that you can choose not to take part, if you think that it might cause you any difficulties.


This is a totally anonymous survey. After you click on the link, you will have the option of creating a unique code for yourself. This preserves your anonymity, but allows connection of your data with interview data (if you take part in an interview also). It also enables you to retrieve or withdraw your data (up to analysis of the database) if you choose to withdraw at any point.

Your participation is valuable and your anonymous data will be treated with the utmost respect and care. Only the research team (myself, my supervisor and a research associate) will have access to this data.

Your data will be held on a password-protected computer and will never be transferred to a memory stick. Your data will be used only for the purpose of this research, and your data study will be destroyed 2 years after publication. Furthermore, UCD and the HSE will not have access to information on individual responses on any tasks (questionnaires/interviews) they complete in the project. The project has received ethical approval from the HSE (South East) and UCD. The results of this study will be reported in an academic thesis, where the survey data will mainly be presented in a group format rather than individually. Results will be presented at conferences and written up in academic journals, but at no point will any identifiers be used. If you would like further information about the procedures outlined here, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Aileen O'Connor (contact details above).

What if I require further information?

If you have any questions about the study or require further information, I will be more than happy to talk through your queries or give you further information. This information sheet is for you to keep.

Thanks for taking the time to consider taking part, I look forward to hearing from you!

Dr Aileen O'Connor
Phone: +353(0) 89-7048006

Dr Tina Hickey
Phone: +353(1) 7168432

Please click HERE to take the survey!