An Examination of the Relations Between Symptom Distributions in Children Diagnosed with Autism and Caregiver Burden, Anxiety and Depression Levels
High stress levels and impairment of physical/mental health in parents can delay early and effective intervention in autism. The purpose of this study was to examine relations between the clinical characteristics of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and caregiver burden, and anxiety and depression levels. Seventy cases under monitoring at the Namık Kemal University Medical Faculty Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Polyclinic with a diagnosis of ASD, and their principal caregivers, were included in the study. The Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Zarit Caregiver Burden Scale were completed. At multiple regression analysis, autism symptom severity and caregiver depressive symptom levels emerged as significant predictors of total caregiver burden scores. Only the ABC language subscale score had a determining effect on caregiver burden (r = 0.51, r2 = 0.26, p = 0.04). ABC body and object use subscale scores were identified as the symptom cluster affecting depression and anxiety scores (r = 0.25, r2 = 0.06, p = 0.03 and r = 0.28, r2 = 0.08, p = 0.01). Our findings show that ASD symptom severity and depressive symptoms in the caregiver are the most important factors giving rise to the caregiver burden, and that the main ASD symptom cluster affecting the caregiver burden was problems associated with language development. Better understanding of variables impacting on the caregiver burden will increase the quality of psychosocial services for caregivers.
KeywordsASD Caregiver burden Anxiety Depression
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study was performed with the approval of the Namık Kemal University Medical Faculty local ethical committee (No. 2016/85/06/02). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the instutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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