Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 168–178 | Cite as

Autism Severity and Qualities of Parent–Child Relations

  • Nicole M. Beurkens
  • Jessica A. Hobson
  • R. Peter Hobson
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to examine how severity of autism affects children’s interactions (relatedness) and relationships with their parents. Participants were 25 parent–child dyads that included offspring who were children with autism aged from 4 to 14 years. The severity of the children’s autism was assessed using the calibrated severity metric of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Gotham et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 39:693–705, 2009). Parent–child dyads were videotaped in 10-min semi-structured play interactions, and qualities of interpersonal relatedness were rated with the Dyadic Coding Scales (Humber and Moss in Am J Orthopsychiatr 75(1):128–141, 2005). Quality of relationships between parents and children were evaluated with a parent self-report measure, the Parent Child Relationship Inventory (Gerard in Parent–Child Relationship Inventory (PCRI) manual. WPS, Los Angeles, 1994). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that severity of autism was inversely related to patterns of parent–child interaction but not to reported quality of parent–child relationship. We consider the implications for thinking about relatedness and relationships among children with autism, and opportunities for intervention.


Parent–child interaction Autism severity Communication Relationship-based treatment Attachment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole M. Beurkens
    • 1
  • Jessica A. Hobson
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. Peter Hobson
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Horizons Developmental Resource CenterCaledoniaUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Child HealthUniversity Collge LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Tavistock ClinicLondonUK

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