Relationship between stress, marital satisfaction, and behavior problems of parents raising a child with autism
Families raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more likely to report child behavior problems, experience higher levels of stress, and have lower marital satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between stress and marital satisfaction of parents of children with ASD and parents of typically developing children. Also, the study examined whether the child’s behavior problem influenced higher stress levels and lower marital satisfaction. Participants completed the Parenting Stress Index-Fourth Edition, Short Form, Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale, and the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale: Third Edition. The results indicated that mothers of children with ASD reported higher levels of parenting stress than fathers of children with ASD and parents of typically developing children. However, marital satisfaction did not differ between the mothers and fathers of children with ASD or parents of typically developing children. Problem behavior was associated with parenting stress; however, it was not associated with marital satisfaction. The current study provided information that may assist professionals in supporting parents raising a child with ASD. Recommendations for future study and implications of the present study were discussed.