Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 227–239

Increased Psychopathology in Parents of Children with Autism: Genetic Liability or Burden of Caregiving?

  • Danelle Hodge
  • Charles D. Hoffman
  • Dwight P. Sweeney
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10882-010-9218-9

Cite this article as:
Hodge, D., Hoffman, C.D. & Sweeney, D.P. J Dev Phys Disabil (2011) 23: 227. doi:10.1007/s10882-010-9218-9

Abstract

The goals of this research were to identify which psychopathologies are common in parents of children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and to explore competing hypotheses regarding mechanisms contributing to this risk. By comparing rates of psychopathology in mothers and fathers of children with ASD to rates of psychopathology in parents of typically developing children, this study examined whether increased risk for psychopathology was likely related to genetics or to the burden of caring for a child with a disability. Participants were 269 parents of children with ASD and 446 parents of typically developing children. Mothers and fathers of children with ASD reported significantly more depression, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoid ideation, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The pattern of findings suggests that genetic factors, as opposed to caregiving demands, may contribute to the risk for psychopathology in parents of children with ASD.

Keywords

AutismParentingGeneticsCaregiver burdenMental health

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danelle Hodge
    • 1
  • Charles D. Hoffman
    • 1
  • Dwight P. Sweeney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State University, San BernardinoSan BernardinoUSA