Category: Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders

PS6- #B47 - Parental Attributions, Discipline, and Problem Behavior in Preschoolers With and Without Autism

Friday, Nov 17
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders | Parenting | Child Externalizing

Although previous studies have indicated that parental attributions for child misbehavior and parenting discipline are associated with child problem behavior, there is a lack of research examining the relationship between these variables in parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study investigated the relations between parental attributions, parenting discipline, and child problem behavior in parents of preschoolers with ASD (n = 67) as compared to parents of preschoolers without ASD (n = 58). Group differences in levels of parental attributions of child internality, child stability, and child controllability, as well as lax and overreactive parenting discipline and level of parent-reported child problem behavior, were analyzed. Additionally, child ASD status, parental attributions of controllability, lax parenting discipline, and child problem behavior were examined within a serial multiple mediator model. Results indicated that, compared to parents of preschoolers without ASD, parents of preschoolers with ASD were more likely to use lax discipline and attribute their child’s problem behavior to factors that were uncontrollable by the child and stable over time. There were no significant group differences in attributions of child internality or overreactive parenting discipline. The relationship between child ASD status and level of child problem behavior was mediated through attributions of low child controllability and lax discipline. The findings contribute to the limited literature on parental attributions, parenting discipline, and child problem behavior, and can inform future intervention for child problem behavior, particularly in the area of parent training.

Sarah E. Berliner

School Psychology Psy.D. Student
St. John's University

Melissa L. Jeffay

School Psychology Psy.D. Student
St. John's University, New York

Annie Josephson

School Psychology Psy.D. Student
St. John's University

Lauren J. Moskowitz

Assistant Professor
St. John's University

Braconnier Megan

Yale Child Study Center

Victoria Nicosia

St. John's University

Katherine Palma