Predicting parenting stress by the symptomatology of children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Matthews, Rebecca Elaine
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • Parents of children with disabilities often possess higher stress levels than parents of typically developing children. Much research has focused on parents of children with autism. However, we know little about parents of children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD). In order to better understand how to serve this population, it is important to understand which specific child traits and behaviors affect parenting stress in these families. This study seeks to explore a number of questions regarding stress in parents of children with HFASD. The research questions explored in this dissertation are as follows: (1) Do parents of children with HFASD experience higher levels of stress than the normative population? (2) Do the social difficulties of children with HFASD predict higher parenting stress? (3) Do the communication difficulties of children with HFASD predict higher parenting stress? (4) Do the restricted, repetitive, and/or stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities of children with HFASD predict higher parenting stress? (5) Is the total HFASD symptomatology of children with HFASD a significant predictor of parenting stress? (6) Are behavior problems of children with HFASD a significant predictor of parenting stress? (7) Does social support moderate the relationship between child characteristics and parenting stress? This study consisted of 55 children with HFASD and one of their parents. Parents completed self-report measures on parental stress levels and social support as well as measures on child characteristics related to behavior and the symptomatology of autism spectrum disorders. Scores on these measures were used as variables in hierarchical linear regression models. The results of these analyses suggest that: (1) parents of children with HFASD experience higher stress levels than parents in the normative population (2) greater difficulties with social skills and behavior problems among children with HFASD are associated with higher parenting stress (3) communication difficulties and stereotyped behavior do not predict higher parenting stress (4) higher levels of total HFASD symptomatology are associated with increased parenting stress (5) social support does not moderate any of the other variables' effects on parenting stress. Limitations of this dissertation and implications for practice are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
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  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Education (School Psychology)."
Advisor
  • Knotek, Steven
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Open access
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