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Behaviour predictors of child development and parenting stress trajectories of children with autism

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Title: Behaviour predictors of child development and parenting stress trajectories of children with autism
Author: Bopp, Karen Dorothy
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Special Education
Copyright Date: 2006
Abstract: Little is known about the factors that predict change over time in children with autism and their parents. This research addressed the predictive relationship of six child behaviours - acting-out, sleep disturbances, eating difficulties, stereotypic behaviours, social unresponsiveness, and inattentiveness - on changes in child language, cognitive, and adaptive skills and on changes in parenting stress over 2 years. Participants were 70 young children with autism (mean age: 4;2) and their mothers. Child behaviour variables were constructed using a six step procedure. Structural equation modeling was used to explore the relationships between child behaviours and child and parenting stress trajectories from T1 to T4. Results indicated that (a) high scores for acting-out behaviour at T1 predicted a greater increase in the rate of change (ROC) of expressive vocabulary, expressive language, and social skills; (b) high scores for stereotypic behaviour at T1 and reduced eating difficulties over 6 months predicted a greater increase in the ROC of social skills; (c) reduced stereotypic behaviour over 6 months predicted a greater increase in the ROC of cognitive skills; (d) reduced stereotypic behaviour over 1 year predicted a greater increase in the ROC of expressive language and daily living skills; (e) high scores for inattentive behaviour at T1 predicted less increase in the ROC of receptive and expressive vocabulary, expressive language, and daily living skills; and (f) improvement in inattentive behaviours over 1 year predicted a greater increase in the ROC of expressive vocabulary. The results also revealed that: (a) reduced acting-out behaviour over 6 months predicted less increase in the ROC of maternal stress related to managing children's behaviour; (b) reduced sleep disturbances and stereotypic behaviour over 6 months predicted a greater increase in the ROC of overall maternal stress and specific stress related to parent competence; (c) reduced eating difficulties over 1 year predicted a greater increase in the ROC of maternal stress related to managing children's behaviour; and (d) reduced inattentive behaviour over 6 months predicted less increase in the ROC of maternal stress related to both parent competence and parent-child interactions. Interpretations of the findings, implications for treatment efficiency, and considerations for future research are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/18407
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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