DOI: 10.1177/10664807231198093 ISSN:

Stress and Perceived Partnership Quality of Parents to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Random Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Approach

Teresa Sartor, Sarah Lange, Jörg-Tobias Kuhn, Heinrich Tröster
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology

Parents to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience increased levels of stress compared to other parents. However, it has been difficult to clarify how this parental stress affects the quality of parent partnership, and how stress and partnership quality predict each other longitudinally. Stress and perceived partnership quality of 160 parents to children with ASD who started therapy in an autism therapy center were surveyed at three measurement points. To find out about within-person effects, a random intercept cross-lagged panel model was used. The results showed that a decrease in stress level over the course of therapy led to a decrease in partnership quality. The theory of the parenting alliance can be used to explain these results: coping with demands in parenthood during stressful times seems to tie parents together and strengthen their relationship. Implications for therapeutic practice, such as the use of marriage and family counselors to support the parents’ partnership during their child's autism therapy are presented.

More from our Archive