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Parenting Stress in Autism: Associations w/ Specific Behavioral Characteristics + Stress Reduction

Vista Research and Publications

Emily Strausbaugh, Krina Durica, & Kirsten Yurich
Presented at the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s Annual Convention in June 2013

Research shows parents of children with autism experience high levels of parenting stress. Specifically, higher maladaptive behaviors (e.g., disruptive or hyperactive behavior) common to children with autism and lower adaptive skills (e.g., self-care and communication skills) are associated with higher levels of stress. The present study extends current findings by investigating how specific child characteristics are correlated with parental stress and further reports the reduction of parental stress following three years of intensive treatment using Applied Behavior Analysis. Seventy-four percent of the sample reported significantly elevated levels of stress, which negatively correlated with low levels of several adaptive skills.

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