Families with Children with Autism, Developmental Delay, and Typical Development: The Relationships of Parenting Self-Efficacy, Parenting Strategies, and Child Problem Behaviour
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Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental delays (DD) may experience more child problem behaviours, report lower parenting selfefficacy (PSE), and be more reactive than proactive in their parenting strategies than those who have children with typical development (TD). Differences in PSE and parenting strategies may also influence the extent to which child problem behaviours are experienced by parents who have children with ASD and DD, compared to those who have children with TD. Using a convenience sample of parents of children with ASD (n = 48), DD (n = 51), and TD (n = 72), this study examined group differences on three key variables: PSE, parenting strategies, and child problem behaviour. Results indicated that those in the DD group scored lower on PSE in preventing child problem behaviour than the ASD group. The TD group used fewer reactive strategies than the DD group, and fewer proactive strategies than both the ASD and DD groups. For the overall sample, higher reactive strategies use was found to predict higher ratings of child problem behaviour, while a greater proportion of proactive to reactive strategies use predicted lower ratings of child problem behaviour. PSE was found to moderate DD diagnosis and child problem behaviour. Implications for a behavioural (i.e., parenting strategies) or cognitive (i.e., PSE) approach to parenting are discussed.