Predictors of Positive Contributions When Raising an Individual with ASD: An Actor-Partner Interdependence Model.
Objectives: The goal of this study is to test the benefits and potential use of the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) in examining how different psychological adaptation measures of fathers and mothers of children with ASD influence each other’s perception of positive contributions regarding their child with ASD.
Methods: 135 Spanish father-mother dyads raising individuals with ASD completed validated questionnaires measuring different psychological adaptation measures, i.e., stress, anxiety, depression, sense of coherence and positive contributions i.e., happiness and fulfillment, personal growth and maturity and strength and family closeness. We first fitted a series of single predictor models to test for possibly confounding variables, i.e., parent and child age, family income, education level, ASD severity and behavior problems, and included the ones significantly associated with outcome measures in the final APIM models. Three sets of four models, i.e., one for each positive contribution outcome, were specified using a multilevel modeling (MLM) approach.
Results: Multilevel analysis revealed some actor effects of sense of coherence, stress and anxiety, and some partner effects of anxiety and depression to be important determinants of the perception of positive contributions, above and beyond child and sociodemographic factors. ASD severity, child age and family income were also identified as significant predictors of both progenitors’ perceptions of positive contributions.
Conclusions: The psychological adaptation measures here explored have proved to be relevant determinants of both progenitors’ perceptions of positive contributions regarding ASD, and should therefore be screened by clinicians, when working with ASD families. Professionals should also consider adjusting expectations according to the child’s ASD severity given its negative relationship with the perception of positive contributions. Finally, governments should consider new policies aiming to support ASD families’ treatment expenses.