Parenting style as it relates to parenting stress and behavioral outcomes in children with autism

Patricia Clauser, Fordham University


Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents unique challenges and stressors for the entire family system. This study examined a model suggesting that after controlling for specific demographic variables, parenting stress correlated to the type of parenting style endorsed by parents of children with ASD; ASD severity, parenting stress, and parenting style uniquely explained the variance in the manifestation of internalizing and externalizing symptoms among children with ASD; and parenting style moderated the association between ASD severity and the manifestation of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. An online subject pool was recruited via personal contacts, social media, and Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Participants, consisting of 70 primary caregivers of children ages 3-18 diagnosed with ASD, completed a self-report measure. Results of this study lack statistically significant findings regarding the relationship between parenting style and reported stress level of parents of children with ASD. Analyses revealed that ASD severity and parenting style only attributed to variance in externalizing behaviors but did not have any significant impact on internalizing behaviors. Parenting stress, on the other hand, was the biggest contributor to both internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Finally, parenting style was not found to moderate the relationship between ASD severity and internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

Subject Area

Mental health|Early childhood education|Developmental psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Clauser, Patricia, "Parenting style as it relates to parenting stress and behavioral outcomes in children with autism" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3703211.