Theses Doctoral

Individual Differences in Parent Psychosocial Factors, Child Characteristics and Behaviors, and Parent Behavior Regulation Strategies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Hinman, Jocelyn Ann

Parents’ stress and coping strategies are often challenged in the context of childhood disability, highlighting the importance of studying these factors and their associations with parent behaviors to gather a better understanding of parent-child interactions in the context of developmental disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Less is known about how child characteristics (e.g., ASD severity, language, temperament, and behavior problems) and observed child behaviors relate to parent behaviors. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that were linked to key parent behaviors (i.e., cohesiveness, behavior regulation strategies, synchronization) during the parent-child interaction of parents with children with ASD.

Forty-two mother-child dyads recruited from a therapeutic preschool participated in a parent-child interaction and completed questionnaires measuring parent psychosocial factors and child characteristics. Independent researchers coded videos for parent cohesiveness behaviors, parent behavior regulation strategies, parent synchronization, as well as child affect and compliance behaviors. Pearson correlational analyses were used to examine the relationships between parent psychosocial factors, child characteristics, and parent behaviors. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the effect of moderator variables on those links.

Overall, externalizing and internalizing behaviors were related to depressive symptoms and stress, and stress and effortful control were related. Direct commands and positive parenting were associated with more positive child characteristics and behaviors, such as less negative affect and more committed compliance. The degree to which the mother cleaned and the amount of toys cleaned were also related to higher functioning child characteristics and less negative behaviors. Child characteristics did not significantly moderate the relationship between parent psychosocial factors and parent behaviors. Parents’ coping and self-efficacy did not significantly moderate the relationship between stress and parent behaviors.

More research is needed to better understand how child characteristics and child behaviors relate to parent behaviors. The study offers suggestions for future research to better understand how to improve parent-child interactions during particularly difficult activities, such as clean-up, with a population of children who present unique challenges. Future work should aim to examine how to promote positive parent behavior regulation strategies during situations that require an end goal.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Health and Behavior Studies
Thesis Advisors
Jahromi, Laudan
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
January 22, 2020