Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 350–362 | Cite as

Anger, Stress Proliferation, and Depressed Mood Among Parents of Children with ASD: A Longitudinal Replication

  • Paul R. Benson
  • Kristie L. Karlof
Original Paper


Stress proliferation (the tendency for stressors to create additional stressors) has been suggested as an important contributor to depression among caregivers. The present study utilized longitudinal data from 90 parents of children with ASD to replicate and extend a prior cross-sectional study on stress proliferation by Benson (J Autism Develop Disord 36:685–695, 2006). Consistent with Benson’s earlier findings, regression analyses indicated that stress proliferation mediated the effect of child symptom severity on parent depression. Parent anger was also found to mediate the effect of symptom severity on stress proliferation as well as the effect of stress proliferation on parent depression. Finally, informal social support was found to be related to decreased parent depressed mood over time. Implications of study findings are discussed.


ASD Autism spectrum disorder Stress proliferation Depression Anger Social support 



The research activities on which this paper is based were funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, Grant # H324C010125 (Parent Involvement in Public School Programs for Young Children with Autism, Gail Houle, Project Officer). Our thanks go to the parents of children with ASD who participated in this research. We are also indebted to participating school programs for their assistance, to Carmen Aranda, Melissa Platt, and Dotty Robison for their invaluable help with data collection, and to the Inter-University Consortium of Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, for use of the Work, Family, and Well-Being in the United States, 1990 dataset (Catherine E. Ross, Principal Investigator).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Social Development and EducationUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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