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Transactional Relations Between Parenting Stress and Child Autism Symptoms and Behavior Problems

  • Geovanna Rodriguez
  • Sigan L. Hartley
  • Daniel Bolt
Original Paper

Abstract

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder report elevated parenting stress. The current study examined bidirectional effects between parenting stress and three domains of child functioning (ASD symptoms, internalizing behavior problems, and externalizing behavior problems) across four time points in 188 families of children with ASD (ages 5–12 years). Mother and father reports of parenting stress and child functioning were used in cross-lag models to examine bidirectional associations between parenting stress and child functioning. Results indicated parent-driven effects for child internalizing behavior problems, while child externalizing behavior problems and ASD symptoms evidenced both parent-driven and child-driven effects, in different ways for mothers versus fathers. Overall, findings have important implications for interventions for families of children with ASD.

Keywords

Autism Parent stress Behavior problems Father Mother 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was based on a longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R01 (R01MH099190); S. Hartley, P.I.). The study was supported by core grant to the Waisman Center from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U54 HD090256 to A. Messing). Additional support was also provided by the Waisman Center Postdoctoral Training Program in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities National Institutes of Child and Human Development (NICHD) T32 (T32HD07489). We are indebted to our colleagues and students and to the children and families who participated in this research.

Author Contributions

GR conceived of the study discussed in this paper, participated in its design and coordination, conducted the statistical analysis, interpreted the analysis, and drafted the manuscript. SLH conceived of the larger ongoing study from which data were taken, helped to draft the manuscript, and assisted with the interpretation of findings. DB participated and consulted in the interpretation of statistical analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R01MH099190, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) U54HD090256, and National Institute of Child and Human Development (NICHD) T32HD07489.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

It was obtained by all participating families in this study and obtained individually by participants throughout each visit.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family Studies, School of Human Ecology and Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Educational Psychology and Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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