Examination of Bidirectional Relationships Between Parent Stress and Two Types of Problem Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Path analysis within a structural equation modeling framework was employed to examine the relationships between two types of parent stress and children's externalizing and internalizing behaviors over a 4-year period, in a sample of 184 mothers of young children with autism spectrum disorder. Parent stress was measured with the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form and child behavior was measured with Child Behavior Checklist/1.5-5. Across all time points, parent general distress predicted both types of child behaviors, but not vice versa. In addition, there was modest evidence of a bidirectional relationship between parenting distress and both types of child behaviors from 12 months post-diagnosis to age 6. Results are compared to previous work in this area, with implications for early intervention.
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