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Empirical validation of a model predicting depression, anxiety, and stress in parents of children with autism


Bones, S and Norris, K and Quinn, M, Empirical validation of a model predicting depression, anxiety, and stress in parents of children with autism, Clinical Psychologist pp. 1-12. ISSN 1328-4207 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 The Australian Psychological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/cp.12190


Background: Distress in the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can detrimentally impact parent and child functioning, making the prediction of distress in this parental group particularly important. Model A, developed by Falk, Norris, and Quinn, demonstrated that the relationship between childcentric variables (child social/interpersonal deficits and child externalised behaviour) with parental distress is mediated by parent-centric variables (socio-economic support and maladaptive parental cognitions) in parents of children with ASD. However, this model has not been validated in further ASD populations and therefore its generalisability outside the sample in which it was developed remains unknown. This study aimed to empirically validate Model A for the prediction of distress in parents of children with ASD in an independent sample.

Method: The current study recruited 153 parents of children aged under 18 years with a diagnosis of ASD. Participants completed an online questionnaire, containing measures of parental distress, child social/interpersonal deficits, child externalised behaviour, maladaptive parental cognitions, and socio-economic support.

Results: Using structural equation modelling, the model was found to be a good fit for parents of children with ASD. These results support the finding that parentcentric variables are important predictors of distress in this population.

Conclusions: It is argued that parental distress should be considered a key target when working with families impacted by ASD, and that interventions should focus on the parent as well as the child.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Autism Spectrum Disorder, parents, coping, adaptation, stress, anxiety depression, mental health
Research Division:Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Research Group:Psychology
Research Field:Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Health and Support Services
Objective Field:Carer Health
UTAS Author:Bones, S (Miss Scarlett Bones)
UTAS Author:Norris, K (Associate Professor Kimberley Norris)
UTAS Author:Quinn, M (Dr Michael Quinn)
ID Code:134432
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2019-08-13
Last Modified:2019-09-12

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