Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 2064–2076 | Cite as

Profiles of Social and Coping Resources in Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Relations to Parent and Child Outcomes

  • Anat Zaidman-Zait
  • Pat Mirenda
  • Peter Szatmari
  • Eric Duku
  • Isabel M. Smith
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
  • Joanne Volden
  • Charlotte Waddell
  • Teresa Bennett
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
  • Mayada Elsabaggh
  • Stelios Georgiades
  • The Pathways in ASD Study Team
Original Paper


This study described empirically derived profiles of parents’ personal and social coping resources in a sample of 207 families of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Latent Profile Analysis identified four family profiles based on socieoeconomic risk, coping strategy utilization, family functioning, available social supports, and perceptions of family-centered support. During the time of children’s transition to school, parents in the most disadvantaged group experienced the highest levels of parenting stress and depression, and their children had significantly lower adaptive behaviour scores and more parent-reported behavior problems than children in the other three groups. Results highlight the need for systematic surveillance of family risk factors so that supports can be provided to enhance both parental well-being and children’s developmental health.


Autism spectrum disorder Coping Social resources Parents Risk factors Transition 



We are grateful to the parents and children who participate in the Pathways in ASD study, and to the current and past members of the study team. We are also grateful to our funders, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Kids Brain Health, Autism Speaks, the Sinneave Family Foundation, and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

Author Contributions

AZ-Z conceived of the study and its design, performed the statistical analysis, participated in the design and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; PM provided oversight for data collection, participated in the design and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; PS coordinated the study, participated in interpretation of the data, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript; and ED, IS, TV, JV, CW, TB, LZ, ME, and SG provided oversight for data collection, participated in interpretation of the data, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

The authors declare that all procedures 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.

Informed Consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anat Zaidman-Zait
    • 1
  • Pat Mirenda
    • 2
  • Peter Szatmari
    • 3
  • Eric Duku
    • 4
  • Isabel M. Smith
    • 5
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
    • 6
  • Joanne Volden
    • 7
  • Charlotte Waddell
    • 8
  • Teresa Bennett
    • 4
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    • 7
  • Mayada Elsabaggh
    • 9
  • Stelios Georgiades
    • 4
  • The Pathways in ASD Study Team
  1. 1.School of EducationTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  5. 5.Dalhousie University/IWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  6. 6.University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  7. 7.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  8. 8.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  9. 9.McGill University/Montreal Children’s HospitalMontrealCanada

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