Separation of Parents Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Carolina Baeza-Velasco
  • Cécile Michelon
  • Cécile Rattaz
  • Eric Pernon
  • Amaria Baghdadli


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.


Autism Separation Timing of separation Sociodemographic variables Cohort 



The authors wish to sincerely thank the teenagers and their families for participating in this study, as well as the clinical teams for their contribution to this research. Finally, the authors thank Professor Charles Aussilloux, Valerie Macioce, Anne Wagner and Bernard Ledesert for their valuable collaboration. This work was supported by the France Telecom Foundation and the National Clinical Research Program (PHRC 1997 and 2007).

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolina Baeza-Velasco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cécile Michelon
    • 1
  • Cécile Rattaz
    • 1
  • Eric Pernon
    • 1
  • Amaria Baghdadli
    • 1
  1. 1.Autism Resources Centre, CHRU Montpellier and Laboratory Epsylon (EA 4556, University of Montpellier)MontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Autism Resources CentreMontpellier Cedex 05France

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