University of Tasmania
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Empirical validation of a model predicting depression, anxiety, and stress in the parents of children with autism

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:51 authored by Bones, S
Distress in the parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can detrimentally impact parent and child function, making the prediction of distress in this parental group particularly important. Model A, developed by Falk et al. (2014) demonstrates that the relationship between child-centric variables (child social/interpersonal deficits and externalised behaviour) with parental distress is mediated by parent-centric variables (socioeconomic support and maladaptive parental cognitions). However, this model has not been validated in subsequent populations. The current study recruited 252 parents of children aged 4-17 years, with and without ASD. Participants completed an online questionnaire, containing measures of child social/interpersonal deficits, externalised behaviour, maladaptive parental cognitions and socio-economic support. Using SEM, the model was found to be a good fit for parents of children with ASD. The model was also a good fit for the whole sample, providing preliminary evidence of universality. These results support the finding that parent-centric, rather than child-centric, variables are the best predictors of distress. Furthermore, these results suggest that Model A may effectively predict parental distress in general. It is argued that parental distress should be considered a key target when treating ASD, and that interventions should focus on the parent as well as the child.


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Copyright 2017 the author

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