Category: Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders
Previous studies have found discrepancies between actual and perceived knowledge in general (Park et al., 1988). Studies in the medical realm suggest that, at most, there may be a moderate correlation between an individual’s perceived and actual knowledge of autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Agho & Lewis, 2001). Parenting competence can be defined as a combination of parenting self-efficacy and satisfaction (e.g., Rodrigue et al., 1990; Kuhn et al., 2006). Some studies have indicated that mothers of children with ASD have lower perceived parenting competence and maternal self-efficacy (Kuhn et al., 2006). A previous study found no correlation between self-efficacy and ASD knowledge in a sample of mothers of children with ASD (Kuhn & Carter, 2006). However, another recent study revealed that self-efficacy mediated the relation between perceived and actual knowledge of ASD in an undergraduate sample (Hansen & Barry, 2016). Thus, further research is needed to better examine how efficacy and knowledge relate, specifically among parents of children with ASD. This study examined the relations among parenting efficacy, parenting satisfaction, perceived knowledge of ASD, and actual knowledge of ASD among parents of a child with ASD. Participants were 159 caregivers (119 females) and their 159 children (132 males). Caregivers were ages 24 to 53 years (M = 34.72; SD = 5.11) and children were ages 4 to 11 years (M = 6.99; SD = 1.80). Participants largely identified as European American (81.8%) and Bi/multiracial (6.9%). Caregivers self-reported that their children had ASD (90.0%), Asperger’s (7.5%), and PDD-NOS (2.5%). Caregivers completed a battery of assessments including A Survey of Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Hansen, 2015), assessing perceived and actual knowledge of ASD, and the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (Gibaud-Wallston & Wandersman, 1978; Johnston & Mash, 1989), assessing parenting efficacy and satisfaction. Correlation analyses indicated significant positive correlations between perceived and actual knowledge, r = .29, p < .01, as well as perceived knowledge and parenting self-efficacy and satisfaction, r = .16, p = .05 and , r = .21, p = .01, respectively. Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was found between actual ASD knowledge and parenting satisfaction, r = .44, p < .001, whereas the correlation with parenting self-efficacy was negative, r = -.23, p = .003. These findings indicate that parents of children with ASD who report higher parenting self-efficacy have higher perceived knowledge of ASD, but this may not translate into higher actual knowledge. However, parents with more knowledge (actual and perceived) are more satisfied in their caregiving role. Based on the results, the relation among these variables should be further examined.