Brief Report: Impact of Challenging Behavior on Parenting Stress in Mothers and Fathers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Challenging behaviors are a known predictor of high parenting stress in families of children with autism spectrum disorders. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of reducing challenging behaviors on parenting stress. The purpose of our study was to (a) examine the impact of reducing the frequency and severity of challenging behaviors on parenting stress and (b) compare the effects of family-centered support and parent education on changes in parenting stress. Both high severity of autistic symptoms and of challenging behaviors were predictors of parenting stress. Furthermore, receiving family-centered support were associated with larger reductions in parenting stress. Overall, our results suggest that reducing challenging behaviors with family-centered support may be preferable to produce collateral reductions in parenting stress.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Challenging behavior Parenting stress Parental training Support
We thank Stéphanie Turgeon for her support with data analysis.
MA conceived and designed the study, conducted the experimental procedures, participated in the statistical analysis, participated in the interpretation of the data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.
This study was funded by in part by a doctoral fellowship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture to the first author and by a salary award from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé (#30827) to the second author.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of Université de Montréal and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed consent was obtained from all the families.
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