Family Predictors of Quality of Life and Child Problem Behavior in Families of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Tetenbaum, Samara Pulver
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Previous research on young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has primarily focused on the affected child, while often overlooking the family of the child with ASD. Multiple child-related variables have been linked with quality of life and problem behavior; however the role of family variables has not yet been evaluated in a systematic way. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the association between (a) variables within the family system (i.e. relationship discord, social isolation, parental depression, and elevated parental stress) and (b) quality of life and problem behavior. One hundred and one mothers of 2-8 year old children with ASD participated. Assessment of problem behavior, quality of life, maternal depression, relationship discord, parental stress, and social support was conducted. Bivariate correlations and multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate the association among these variables. Relationship discord, maternal depression, and parental stress were associated with (a) high levels of problem behavior in young children with ASDs and (b) poor quality of life for both the child and the family. The role of the family in ASDs and implications for future intervention research is discussed.