How the Parent-Child Relationship Affects Externalizing, Internalizing, and Adaptive Behavior Development in Autism

Lauren Nicole Levenson, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between parent–child relationship characteristics (attachment, involvement, discipline practices, parenting confidence, and relational frustration) and behavioral outcomes (internalizing, externalizing, and adaptive) in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD presents pervasive challenges to the entire family system. Although interventions have been introduced to reduce behavioral difficulties associated with ASD, prevention and intervention practices often neglect the role that parents play in exacerbating children’s behavior problems. One hundred thirty-one mothers were recruited for this study to complete a set of questionnaires examining the unique contribution of each parent–child relationship variable to behavioral outcomes. Results indicated that relational frustration and discipline practices had the greatest impact on both internalizing and externalizing behavior in children with ASD. Child age was a unique predictor of internalizing behavior. Diagnostic severity was found to be a unique predictor of adaptive behavior. The results of this study may help to facilitate effective and supportive parental responses. A deeper understanding of parent–child relationship factors may help to better serve the needs of families of children with ASD and can help to foster improved prevention and intervention programs. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology|School counseling

Recommended Citation

Levenson, Lauren Nicole, "How the Parent-Child Relationship Affects Externalizing, Internalizing, and Adaptive Behavior Development in Autism" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10270773.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI10270773

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