Autism Spectrum Symptomatology in Children: the Impact of Family and Peer Relationships

Kelly, Adrian B., Garnett, Michelle S., Attwood, Tony and Peterson, Candida (2008) Autism Spectrum Symptomatology in Children: the Impact of Family and Peer Relationships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36 7: 1069-1081. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9234-8

Author Kelly, Adrian B.
Garnett, Michelle S.
Attwood, Tony
Peterson, Candida
Title Autism Spectrum Symptomatology in Children: the Impact of Family and Peer Relationships
Journal name Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0091-0627
Publication date 2008-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10802-008-9234-8
Open Access Status
Volume 36
Issue 7
Start page 1069
End page 1081
Total pages 13
Editor Susan B. Campbell
Place of publication United States
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Language eng
Subject C1
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
920205 Health Education and Promotion
Abstract This study examines the potential impact of family conflict and cohesion, and peer support/bullying on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While such impacts have been established for a range of non-ASD childhood disorders, these findings may not generalize to children with ASD because of unique problems in perspective-taking, understanding others’ emotion, cognitive rigidity, and social reasoning. A structural model-building approach was used to test the extent to which family and peer variables directly or indirectly affected ASD via child anxiety/depression. The sample (N = 322) consisted of parents of children with ASD referred to two specialist clinics. The sample contained parents of children with Autistic Disorder (n = 76), Asperger Disorder (n = 188), Pervasive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (n = 21), and children with a non-ASD or no diagnosis (n  = 37). Parents completed questionnaires on-line via a secure website. The key findings were that anxiety/depression and ASD symptomatology were significantly related, and family conflict was more predictive of ASD symptomatology than positive family/peer influences. The results point to the utility of expanding interventions to include conflict management for couples, even when conflict and family distress is low. Further research is needed on the potentially different meanings of family cohesion and conflict for children with ASD relative to children without ASD.
Keyword Autism Spectrum Disorder
Asperger's syndrome
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 59 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 57 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 31 Mar 2009, 23:01:30 EST by Margaret Gately on behalf of School of Social Science