, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 613-624
Date: 07 Feb 2013

Separation of Parents Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Abstract

We examined the occurrence and timing of separation of parents raising children with Autism Spectrum Disorders followed over a 10-year period (n = 119). We also compared the clinical characteristics of children and sociodemographic variables between parents who remained as a couple versus parents who separated. The results showed that after 10 years of follow-up 74.8 % of the couples remained together (n = 89), representing a separation rate of 25.2 %. This rate remained stable over the study period. There was no significant difference in any of the clinical and sociodemographic variables between comparison groups. Our results suggest that raising a child with autism does not often lead to the dissolution of the parents’ relationship, as is commonly believed. The occurrence of parental separation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders does not appear to vary according to their stage of life (childhood or adolescence). Lastly, the clinical profile of children and sociodemographic variables do not seem to influence the relationship status of parents.