Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 539–548 | Cite as

Relationship Status Among Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Study

  • Brian H. FreedmanEmail author
  • Luther G. Kalb
  • Benjamin Zablotsky
  • Elizabeth A. Stuart
Original Paper


Despite speculation about an 80% divorce rate among parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), very little empirical and no epidemiological research has addressed the issue of separation and divorce among this population. Data for this study was taken from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, a population-based, cross-sectional survey. A total of 77,911 parent interviews were completed on children aged 3–17 years, of which 913 reported an ASD diagnosis. After controlling for relevant covariates, results from multivariate analyses revealed no evidence to suggest that children with ASD are at an increased risk for living in a household not comprised of their two biological or adoptive parents compared to children without ASD in the United States.


Autism Pervasive developmental disorders Family Divorce Marriage National Survey 



This research was not supported by any grants. Portions of this paper were presented as a presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Philadelphia, PA, May 21, 2010. We would like to thank Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., CCC-SLP for her support and contributions to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian H. Freedman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luther G. Kalb
    • 1
  • Benjamin Zablotsky
    • 2
  • Elizabeth A. Stuart
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Autism and Related DisordersKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mental Health and BiostatisticsJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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