Research Summary: Parent Stress and Behavior Problems | Organization for Autism Research

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Each month OAR will review a study and summarize why the information is useful for you as a parent or member of the autism community.

Have you ever noticed how your behavior affects your child with ASD?

Ever wonder if parenting stress is more related to problem behaviors or if problem behaviors are more related to stress? Researchers, Lisa Osborne and Phil Reed investigated this “chicken or the egg” discussion in The Relationship Between Parenting Stress and Behavior Problems of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder published in Exceptional Children. Their research found that level of parental stress predicts child behavior problems while child behavior problems do not predict parental stress. What does this mean for researchers and educators? Interventions that do not include parents may be less effective than interventions that work to help relieve parent stress. What does this mean for parents? By finding ways to relax, parents may actually positively affect their child’s behavior.

The next time you feel guilty for taking time for yourself, don’t feel bad. Remember your mood directly impacts your child!

Osborne, Lisa A. and Phil Reed. “The Relationship Between Parenting Stress and Behavior Problems of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Exceptional Children 76.1 (2009): 54-73. Print.

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