Caregiver Burden Varies by Sensory Subtypes and Sensory Dimension Scores of Children with Autism

  • Brittany N. Hand
  • Alison E. Lane
  • Paul De Boeck
  • D. Michele Basso
  • Deborah S. Nichols-Larsen
  • Amy R. Darragh
S.I. : Parenting Children with ASD


Understanding characteristics associated with burden in caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is critical due to negative health consequences. We explored the association between child sensory subtype, sensory dimension scores, and caregiver burden. A national survey of caregivers of children with ASD aged 5–13 years was conducted (n = 367). The relationship between variables of interest and indicators of caregiver burden, including health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and caregiver strain, was examined with canonical correlation analyses. Caregiver strain was, but caregiver HRQOL was not, significantly associated with child sensory subtype and sensory dimension scores. Caregiver age, child age, and household income were also associated with caregiver strain. Potential explanatory mechanisms for these findings, derived from published qualitative studies, are discussed.


Pediatrics Autism Caregiver burden Caregiver strain Sensory processing Sensory subtypes 



This work was funded by the M. Rosita Schiller Research Award and Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship from The Ohio State University. Additionally, support was received from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Ohio State University and the Interactive Autism Network.

Author Contributions

BH participated in study design, conducted statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript; AL participated in study design, results interpretation, and manuscript revisions; PDB oversaw statistical analyses and participated in manuscript revisions; DMB participated in study design and manuscript revisions; DNL participated in study design and manuscript revisions; AD oversaw study design and participated in manuscript revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

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

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3348_MOESM1_ESM.docx (79 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 78 KB)
10803_2017_3348_MOESM2_ESM.docx (63 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 62 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Health ProfessionsMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Priority Research Centre Grow Up Well®The University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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