Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 501–512 | Cite as

Maternal Parenting Behavior and Child Behavior Problems in Families of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jarymke MaljaarsEmail author
  • Hannah Boonen
  • Greet Lambrechts
  • Karla Van Leeuwen
  • Ilse Noens
Original Paper


Parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face specific challenges in parenting, but concrete parenting behavior has never been properly investigated in these families. This exploratory questionnaire study compared parenting behaviors among mothers of children and adolescents with ASD (n = 552) and without ASD (n = 437) and examined associations between child behavior problems and parenting behavior. Results showed that mothers of children with ASD reported significantly lower scores on Rules and Discipline and higher scores on Positive Parenting, Stimulating the Development, and Adapting the Environment. Age was differently related to parenting behavior in the ASD versus control group. Furthermore, distinctive correlation patterns between parenting behavior and externalizing or internalizing behavior problems were found for both groups.


Parenting behavior Autism spectrum disorder Externalizing behavior problems Internalizing behavior problems 



This research was funded by grants from the Marguerite-Marie Delacroix Support Fund, the Research Council of the KU Leuven (IDO/08/013), and the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO). Furthermore, we thank all the participating families and schools, as well as the Flemish and Dutch parent associations for ASD.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jarymke Maljaars
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hannah Boonen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Greet Lambrechts
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karla Van Leeuwen
    • 1
  • Ilse Noens
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Parenting and Special Education Research UnitUniversity of Leuven (KU Leuven)LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Leuven Autism Research (LAuRes)LeuvenBelgium

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