Systems analysis of stress and positive perceptions in mothers and fathers of pre-school children with autism

Hastings, Richard P., Kovshoff, Hanna, Ward, Nicholas J., Degli Espinosa, Francesca, Brown, Tony and Remington, Bob (2005) Systems analysis of stress and positive perceptions in mothers and fathers of pre-school children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, (5), 635-644. (doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0007-8).


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Systemic analyses of psychological functioning in families of children with autism have typically shown that parents report different experiences (e.g., stress) and that siblings may also be affected. The purpose of the present research was more explicitly to address relationships between child, partner, and parent variables. Parents of 48 children with autism (41 mother-father pairs) reported on child characteristics, and their own stress and mental health.

Mothers were found to report both more depression and more positive perceptions than fathers. Regression analyses revealed that paternal stress and positive perceptions were predicted by maternal depression; maternal stress was predicted by their children's behavior problems (not adaptive behavior or autism symptoms) and by their partner's depression. The future testing of the mechanisms underlying these results is discussed. In addition, the need is emphasized for more systemic analyses to understand the psychological functioning of children with autism and their siblings and parents.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0007-8
ISSNs: 0162-3257 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: autism, mothers, fathers, stress, positive perceptions, pre-school children, families
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 40188
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
October 2005Published
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:10

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