How Are Child Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors Associated with Caregiver Stress Over Time? A Parallel Process Multilevel Growth Model
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The impact of raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is frequently accompanied by elevated caregiver stress. Examining the variables that predict these elevated rates will help us understand how caregiver stress is impacted by and impacts child behaviors. This study explored how restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) contributed concurrently and longitudinally to caregiver stress in a large sample of preschoolers with ASD using parallel process multilevel growth models. Results indicated that initial rates of and change in RRBs predicted fluctuations in caregiver stress over time. When caregivers reported increased child RRBs, this was mirrored by increases in caregiver stress. Our data support the importance of targeted treatments for RRBs as change in this domain may lead to improvements in caregiver wellbeing.
KeywordsAutism Caregiver stress Restricted and repetitive behaviors
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education through Grant R324B070219 awarded to UNC-Chapel Hill. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education. At the time the study was conducted, Dr. Matthew McBee was at the UNC-Chapel Hill.
CH participated in analysis, led the interpretation of the data and drafting of the manuscript. MM led statistical analysis and participated in data interpretation and drafting the manuscript. BB conceived and designed the study, assisted with data collection, participated in analysis and interpretation of the data and drafting of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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