The double ABCX model of family adaptation in families of a child with an autism spectrum disorder attending an Australian early intervention service
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It is well established that families caring for a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience increased psychological distress compared to other families (e.g., Baker-Ericze䠮, Brookman-Frazee, & Stahmer, 2005 ;Lee et al., 2009). However, little research has captured the range of variables linked to family outcomes, and research in the early childhood period has been largely atheoretical. The current study sought to investigate the applicability of the double ABCX Model of Family Adaptation (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983) in understanding the factors underlying family outcomes when children with ASD attend early intervention. Participants included 43 parents (18 males, 25 females) of children aged 2.5 to 6 years (M=49.35, SD = 9.21 months; 8 female, 35 male) with ASD who were attending an autism-specific intervention service. Participants completed standardised questionnaire measures of constructs of the double ABCX Model. As predicted by the model, family systems outcomes (individual, relationship, or family) were linked to symptom severity (challenging behaviour), pile-up demands, internal and external resources, appraisals, and active-avoidant coping styles.Level of ASD symptoms however ,were not significantly linked to outcomes. Limitations, directions for future research,and practical implications are discussed.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Special Education and Disability