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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 2642–2652 | Cite as

Caregiver Mental Health, Parenting Practices, and Perceptions of Child Attachment in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Samantha J. Teague
  • Louise K. Newman
  • Bruce J. Tonge
  • Kylie M. Gray
  • The MHYPeDD team
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of caregiver mental health and parenting practices as predictors of attachment in children with intellectual disability/developmental delay, comparing between children with ASD (n = 29) and children with other developmental disabilities (n = 20). Parents reported that children with ASD had high levels of anxiety and stress, and attachment insecurity in children (less closeness and more conflict in attachment relationships, and more inhibited attachment behaviours) compared with children with other developmental disabilities. Children’s attachment quality was associated with parenting practices and the presence of an ASD diagnosis. These results highlight the bidirectional nature of the quality of caregiving environments and attachment in children with ASD, and also provide a strong rationale for targeting children’s attachment quality in early interventions.

Keywords

Attachment Autism Parenting Mental health Intellectual disability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant Number 1016919). SJT is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. This work was completed as part of the Mental Health of Young People with Developmental Disabilities (MHYPeDD) project. The authors acknowledge and thank the MHYPeDD team for their contributions in the research design of this study. Mental Health of Young People with Developmental Disabilities (MHYPeDD) This paper represents a collaborative effort on behalf of the MHYPeDD team. The contribution from authors to this paper was part of a broader collaborative effort from MHYPeDD members. MHYPeDD Team: Anaha Aery, Ellaina Andersson, Jo Arciuli, Sheena Arora, Louise Bezzina, Rebecca Blackmore, Ross Borland, Jodie Caruana, Danyelle Cawood, Kristina Clarke, Jamin Day, David Dossetor, Stewart Einfeld, Eric Emerson, Holly Evans, Ana Fernandez, Stephen Goodall, Kylie Gray, Kaaren Haas, Kevin Henderson, Tania Henry, Sharon Hinton, Fiona Hoath, Julie Hodges, Sian Horstead, Pat Howlin, Nan Hu, Caroline Keating, Eliza Kelly, Rachael Knott, Pauline Kotselas, Eva Louie, Zyra McAuliffe, Gemma O’Hagan, Babak Panahi, Kathryne Phillis, Lauren Rice, Oriel Rose, Cassandra Rotolone, Luis Salvador-Carulla, Matt Sanders, Martha Schoch, Fionnuala Shortt, Natalie Silove, Kate Sofronoff, Lucille Stace, John Taffe, Samantha Teague, Bruce Tonge, Donna-Marie Thompson, Emily Wallman, Rosalie Viney.

Author Contributions

SJT conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the data analysis, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; LKN conceived of the study, contributed to the analysis and interpretation of data, and helped to draft the manuscript; BJT conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript; KMG conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, contributed to the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Women’s Health, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and ResearchUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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