Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1609–1620 | Cite as

Determinants of Stress in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Mélina RivardEmail author
  • Amélie Terroux
  • Claudel Parent-Boursier
  • Céline Mercier
Original Paper


Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder are known to experience more stress than parents of children with any other conditions. The current study describes the parental stress of 118 fathers and 118 mothers at the onset of their children’s Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program. The objectives of the study were to compare and analyze each parent’s stress and to identify factors that might predict their stress. Results indicated that fathers reported higher levels of stress than mothers. Correlations indicated that the stress levels of both parents were associated with their child’s age, intellectual quotient, severity of autistic symptoms, and adaptive behaviors. Paternal stress, but not maternal stress, was predicted by severity of autistic symptoms and child’s gender. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for services and early interventions.


Autism Preschoolers Parental stress Early intervention 



We would like to acknowledge the financial support that we received during this research project. This project is part of a larger research project, financed by the Montérégie Health Agency and the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. We want to thank the Centre de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle et en troubles envahissant du développement Montérégie-Est, Mme Sylvie Gladu, Johanne Gauthier, M. Gilles Lemaire, Mme Caroline Bouffard, Mme Annick LeBeau and Mme Johanne Messier and we extend our gratitude to the children, parents, educators and therapists who participated in this study. We also want to thank Mme Gisela Regli, Mme Kelly Kerr et Mme Catherine Mello for their work on traduction and revision of the article. With regard to competing interests, Amélie Terroux declare to be employees of the Centre de réadaptation déficience intellectuelle et en troubles envahissant du développement Montérégie-Est. Céline Mercier and Claudel Parent-Boursier were under contract for the same agency for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mélina Rivard
    • 2
    Email author
  • Amélie Terroux
    • 1
  • Claudel Parent-Boursier
    • 2
  • Céline Mercier
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle et troubles envahissants du développement de la Montérégie-EstQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Département de psychologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Département de médecine sociale et préventiveUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada

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