Maladaptive behaviors in children with autism and parental hopelessness: The moderating role of parental reflective functioning. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research Enav, Y., Knudtson, M. V., Hardan, A. Y., Gross, J. J. 2022


Hopelessness in parents has implications for parents' own well-being as well as their ability to meet the needs of their children. In the present study, we examined the effect of maladaptive behaviors in children with autism on parental hopelessness, with particular attention to whether parental reflective functioning would moderate the effect of maladaptive behaviors on parental hopelessness. Our sample included 68 parents of children with autism between the ages of 3 and 18. Findings revealed a significant positive relationship between maladaptive behaviors in the children and hopelessness in the parents. Moreover, parental reflective functioning moderated the effect of child maladaptive behaviors on parental hopelessness, such that children's maladaptive behaviors were positively associated with parental hopelessness in parents with low (but not high) reflective functioning. Findings suggest parental reflective functioning may be a protective factor against parental hopelessness, and thus a possible target for interventions for hopelessness in parents whose children with autism exhibit greater maladaptive behaviors.

View details for DOI 10.1002/aur.2841

View details for PubMedID 36333959