Objectives: The present study seeks to define the prevalence of substance use among parents of children with ASDs, as well as determine whether or not there is a relationship between parental substance use and the severity of their children’s problem behaviors as reported on the Externalizing subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Furthermore, this study aims to determine whether or not or not parents engaging in substance use register on the Broad Autism Phenotype as measured by the subscales and overall average score on the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ).
Methods: Data for this study were obtained from the Simons Simple Collection (SSC). The following measures were used: Child Behavior Checklist, Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire, and the Parent Substance Use History Form (developed by the SSC). For the purposes of this study, only current substance use data were analyzed. Given that parental substance use is a dichotomous variable (as measured by the SSC), point-biserial correlations were run between parental substance use, the CBCL Externalizing subscale, and the subscales and overall average score of the BAPQ. Paternal and maternal substance use data were analyzed separately.
Results: With the exception of tobacco and alcohol use, a relatively small percentage of parents reported substance use; however, preliminary analyses yielded significant correlations between parental (paternal and maternal) substance use and BAPQ scores.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that parents exhibiting BAP traits may be more likely to adopt maladaptive coping mechanisms, specifically substance use. Although effect sizes were relatively small, these results suggest important implications for future research. To enhance our understanding of the data, the researchers plan to conduct additional analyses by looking at the relationships between the BAPQ and the CBCL and composite scores of substance use (for both mothers and fathers), which will be included in the conference presentation.
See more of: Psychiatric/Behavioral Comorbidities
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype