Autism, attachment and parenting: a comparison of children with autism spectrum disorder, mental retardation, language disorder, and non-clinical children.
AbstractChildren with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have severe and pervasive impairments in the development of social interaction, which may affect the attachment relationship with their parents and may have an impact on parenting. In the current investigation 89 families with young children (mean age 26.5 months) were involved, who were diagnosed as ASD, mentally retarded (MR), or language delayed (LD), or part of a non-clinical comparison group. Attachment security was observed with the Brief Attachment Screening Questionnaire, and several parental self-report questionnaires assessed the parenting style, parental efficacy, parental experiences of daily hassles, social support, and psychological problems. Children with ASD were rated as less secure compared to the other clinical and normal comparison groups. Parents of non-clinical children reported higher levels of authoritative parenting than parents in the ASD group and in the total clinical group, and they also received less social support. Parents of children with ASD coped remarkably well with the challenges of raising a child with ASD.