Parental Anxiety and Family Functioning: A Comparison between Children with ASD and Comorbid Anxiety Disorders, Children with Anxiety Disorders, and Typically Developing Children
Objectives: This study's aim was to examine parents' anxiety and the family functioning.
Methods: Families of children with (1) Autism Spectrum Disorder and anxiety disorders (ASD+AD; N = 80), (2) anxiety disorders (AD; N = 108) and (3) typically developing children (controls; N = 90) completed questionnaires.
Results: Parents’ odds of having clinical anxiety levels was 3.5 times higher when their child had AD, and fathers’ risk was further increased when their child also had ASD. AD was associated with lower family relationship scores and ASD further lowered this score, while only ASD was associated with elevated family system maintenance scores.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that having a child with (ASD+)AD co-occurs with parental health and family functioning problems, but the direction of this relationship remains to be examined.