J. YAP1, N.K.L. GOH2, T.J. GOH2, M. SUNG2
National University of Singapore1, Institute of Mental Health2
Parental factors have been reported to influence presentation of child behaviours among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We explore the relationship between parental factors such as educational levels and coping mechanisms, and behavioural problems in children with ASD.
A total of 96 children with ASD and their parents who had participated in a larger study provided demographic information and scores on the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), Perceived Parental Stress Scale (PPSS), Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES), among other scales. Linear regression and Mediator analyses were conducted.
The relationship between CBCL total scores and parental stress was found to be bidirectional (R² = 0.144, F(1,88) = 14.843, p< 0.001). Greater use of passive appraisal coping predicted lower CBCL total scores (R² = 0.057, F(1,87) = 5.278, p< 0.05). Lower CBCL total scores were also predicted by higher paternal education levels (R² = 0.047, F(1,87) = 4.259, p< 0.05) and higher maternal education levels (R² = 0.044, F(1,87) = 4.012, p< 0.05) separately. Passive appraisal coping was not found to be a significant mediator in the relationship between CBCL total scores and the education levels of fathers and mothers respectively.
Passive appraisal coping appears to influence parental stress and child behaviours independently, suggesting that intervention focusing on coping in parents can mitigate parental stress and child behaviours simultaneously. Parental education levels are also differentially associated with child behaviour, which could be attributed to their understanding of their child’s difficulties.