Objectives: Examine the association between BAP and marital quality in mothers and fathers of toddlers with ASD.
Methods: Parents of children with ASD between 30- to 45-months of age who participated in a longitudinal research study are included in this report. As part of a larger study, mothers and fathers completed questionnaires about themselves on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (ASQ; total score and 5 subscales) and about their marital relationship on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS; total score and 4 subscales).
Results: Correlations between ASQ total and subscale scores and DAS total and subscale scores for 84 couples showed that fathers who reported lower overall marital quality rated themselves as higher on the ASQ Social Skills scale (r=-.34, p=.002). This association was not present for mothers. Regression analyses indicated that after accounting for mothers’ ratings of marital quality (ΔR2=.25), fathers’ ASQ Social Skill scores accounted for an additional 11% of unique variance in fathers’ DAS scores. Neither mothers’ nor fathers’ ASQ scores were associated with mothers’ marital quality and mothers’ ASQ scores did not significantly predict fathers’ marital quality.
Conclusions: Results show that fathers’ endorsement of challenges with social skills is predictive of lower levels of marital quality. Therefore, fathers’ social ability should be taken into consideration when assessing marital well-being of parents with children with ASD.