How Do Parents Conceptualize Their Children's Autism Spectrum Disorder? Validating a Measure of Caregiver Perceptions
Objectives: Examine construct validity of the IPQ-R for families of children with confirmed ASD diagnoses, which allows investigating function of IPQ-R ordered categorical response items for assessing parental perceptions, and to verify the factor structure of IPQ-Ras it relates to the constructs central to chronic health condition conceptualizations.
Methods: Parents of children and adolescents (n=362; child age M=13.44, SD=3.43) with confirmed ASD diagnoses from across North America were asked to complete the IPQ-R; data collection is complete. We are in process of evaluating different polytomous IRT-CFA models (e.g., direct and indirect IRT model) to analyze the ordinal (i.e., Likert scale) item-level data yielded from the collected IPQ-R to determine the number and nature of dimensions (i.e., factors) measured when used with families affected by ASD.
Results: Parents in this study (age M=46.10, SD=5.93) were likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (73.5%) and higher-than-average family income (median: $100,000). In this sample, 72.6% of parents reported that their child’s overall ASD severity was “moderate”. Using the scoring criteria based on the original IPQ-R model (i.e., not with families of ASD), initial correlation analyses indicated the relationships of the items and subscales ranged from .12 to .80. An exploratory factor analysis indicated two additional factors when comparing with the original measure structure. Confirmatory factor analysis of the original IPQ-R factor structure indicated differences in the structure of three subscales when the measure is used with ASD. Forthcoming analyses will further examine construct validity of the IPQ-Rfor families of children with ASD using polytomous item response theory (IRT) models embedded in a confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) model.
Conclusions: Parents’ cognitions may be critical mediators between family functioning and child outcomes among children with ASD. However, measurement of such parent perceptions and attributions is lacking. The IPQ-R has been widely used to study many chronic health-related conditions and may be a viable measure for better understanding parents’ conceptualizations and ultimately treatment-seeking and coping behaviors among families of children with ASD.