Objectives: 1) to explore whether communication problems are associated with behaviour problems among children with ASD; 2) to examine if parenting behaviours mediate or moderate the relationship between behaviour problems and communication problems
Methods: Data were collected from 206 children with ASD and 189 children without ASD. All children were school-aged (ages 6 to 12). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was administered to evaluate behaviour problems. In the current study four subscales were used, creating two composite scores for internalizing behaviour problems (emotional and peer problems items) and externalizing behaviour problems (conduct and hyperactivity items). The Children’s Communication Checklist-2 was used to measure communication problems. From this questionnaire eight subscales were used, creating two composite scores for structural language problems (speech production, syntax, semantics and coherence) and pragmatic problems (inappropriate initiation, stereotypic language, use of context and non-verbal communication). The Parental Behaviour Scale-short version (PBS; Van Leeuwen & Vermulst, 2010) was used to measure general parenting behaviours (Positive Parenting, Discipline, Harsh Punishment, Material Rewarding, and Rules). Two additional subscales were administered to measure parenting behaviours more specifically relevant to children with ASD (Stimulating the Development and Adapting the Environment; Van Leeuwen & Noens, 2010).
Results: Preliminary results indicate that both children’s communication problems and parenting behaviours are associated with behaviour problems among children with ASD. Pragmatic problems are positively associated with both externalizing (r = .25, p <.001) and internalizing behaviour problems (r = .37, p <.001), while structural language problems are only associated with internalizing behaviour problems (r = .14, p <.05). With regard to parenting behaviours, externalizing behaviour problems are positively associated with rules (r = .14, p <.05) and punishment (r = .28, p <.001), whereas internalizing problems are positively associated with stimulating the development (r = .18, p <.01) and adapting the environment (r= .27, p <.001).
Conclusions: In these preliminary analyses, we only looked at correlation patterns in the ASD group. In further analyses, hierarchical regression analyses will be performed in order to explore whether these associations differ in the control group and to examine if parenting behaviours mediate or moderate the relationship between behaviour problems and communication problems.
See more of: Clinical Phenotype
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype