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The Factors Predicting Stress, Anxiety and Depression in the Parents of Children with Autism

Abstract

The factors predicting stress, anxiety and depression in the parents of children with autism remain poorly understood. In this study, a cohort of 250 mothers and 229 fathers of one or more children with autism completed a questionnaire assessing reported parental mental health problems, locus of control, social support, perceived parent–child attachment, as well as autism symptom severity and perceived externalizing behaviours in the child with autism. Variables assessing parental cognitions and socioeconomic support were found to be more significant predictors of parental mental health problems than child-centric variables. A path model, describing the relationship between the dependent and independent variables, was found to be a good fit with the observed data for both mothers and fathers.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the University of Tasmania in completing this study. The authors also wish to acknowledge the time taken and vital contribution made by the study participants.

Ethical standard

The research associated with this article abides by the ethical standards laid down by the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Ethics approval was granted prior to commencement of the study.

Informed consent

All participants gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in this study.

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Correspondence to Nicholas Henry Falk.

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Falk, N.H., Norris, K. & Quinn, M.G. The Factors Predicting Stress, Anxiety and Depression in the Parents of Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 3185–3203 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2189-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2189-4

Keywords

  • Mothers
  • Fathers
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Autism