Stability and individual change in depressive symptoms among mothers raising young children with ASD: maternal and child correlates
ABSTRACT Mothers raising children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) evidence elevated depressive symptoms, but symptom stability has not been examined. Mothers (N=143) of toddlers with ASD (77% boys) were enrolled and assessed when their children were 18 to 33 months old and followed annually for 2 years. Multilevel modeling revealed no significant change in group depressive symptom level, which was in the moderately elevated range (Intercept=13.67; SE=.96). In contrast, there was significant individual variation in change over time. Child problem behaviors and delayed competence, maternal anxiety symptoms and angry/hostile mood, low parenting efficacy and social supports, and coping styles were associated with depression severity. Only maternal anxiety and parenting efficacy predicted individual change. Many mothers do not appear to adapt, supporting the need for early intervention for maternal well-being.
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ABSTRACT: Background:Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are at risk for higher stress levels than parents of children with other developmental disabilities and typical development. Recent advances in early diagnosis have resulted in younger children being diagnosed with ASDs but factors associated with parent stress in this age group are not well understood. Aims: The present study examined parenting-related stress and psychological distress in mothers of toddlers with ASD, developmental delay without ASD (DD), and typical development. The impact of child problem behavior and daily living skills on parenting-stress and psychological distress were further investigated. Methods: Participants were part of a larger research study on early ASD intervention. Results: Parent self-report of parenting-related stress and psychological distress was utilized. Parents of toddlers with ASD demonstrated increased parenting-related stress compared with parents of toddlers with DD and typical development. However, psychological distress did not differ significantly between the groups. Child behavior problems, but not daily living skills emerged as a significant predictor of parenting-related stress and psychological distress. This was true for both mothers of children with ASD and DD. Conclusions: These finding suggest that parents' abilities to manage and reduce behavior problems is a critical target for interventions for young children with ASD and DD in order to improve child functioning and decrease parenting-related stress.Brain & development 11/2012; 35(2). DOI:10.1016/j.braindev.2012.10.004 · 1.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be an overwhelming experience for parents and families. The pervasive and severe deficits often present in children with ASD are associated with a plethora of difficulties in caregivers, including decreased parenting efficacy, increased parenting stress, and an increase in mental and physical health problems compared with parents of both typically developing children and children with other developmental disorders. In addition to significant financial strain and time pressures, high rates of divorce and lower overall family well-being highlight the burden that having a child with an ASD can place on families. These parent and family effects reciprocally and negatively impact the diagnosed child and can even serve to diminish the positive effects of intervention. However, most interventions for ASD are evaluated only in terms of child outcomes, ignoring parent and family factors that may have an influence on both the immediate and long-term effects of therapy. It cannot be assumed that even significant improvements in the diagnosed child will ameliorate the parent and family distress already present, especially as the time and expense of intervention can add further family disruption. Thus, a new model of intervention evaluation is proposed, which incorporates these factors and better captures the transactional nature of these relationships.Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 08/2012; 15(3):247-77. DOI:10.1007/s10567-012-0119-6 · 4.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the impact of social support on the psychological well-being of mothers of adolescents and adults with ASD (n = 269). Quantity of support (number of social network members) as well as valence of support (positive support and negative support) were assessed using a modified version of the "convoy model" developed by Antonucci and Akiyama (1987). Having a larger social network was associated with improvements in maternal well-being over an 18-month period. Higher levels of negative support as well as increases in negative support over the study period were associated with increases in depressive symptoms and negative affect and decreases in positive affect. Social support predicted changes in well-being above and beyond the impact of child behavior problems. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 12/2011; 42(9):1818-26. DOI:10.1007/s10803-011-1420-9 · 3.06 Impact Factor