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      Dyadic coping and coparenting among couples after their child’s recent autism diagnosis

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          Abstract

          This study explores how parenting couples use their relationship to support each other after their child’s autism diagnosis by assessing the role of dyadic coping and parenting sense of competence as predictors of their coparenting quality. Mothers and fathers raising a child on the spectrum ( N = 70 couples) individually completed self-report questionnaires measuring stress appraisal, dyadic coping, parenting sense of competence, and coparenting. Parents were recruited 1–36 months after their child’s autism diagnosis and data were analyzed using the actor-partner interdependence model. Parents’ dyadic coping and sense of competence were related to their level of coparenting. Partner effects were found as mothers’ dyadic coping was positively linked to fathers’ coparenting and a higher sense of competence among fathers predicted mothers’ coparenting. Further research is needed to understand how these effects evolve throughout the child’s development stages.

          Lay abstract

          We investigated how couples support each other after their child’s autism diagnosis and whether this affects the way they work together to raise their child. We recruited 70 couples raising a child on the autism spectrum. Both partners were asked to complete the same questionnaires measuring how they perceived the experience of having a child on the autism spectrum, how they used their relationship to support each other during stressful situations, how competent they felt completing their parenting tasks, and the coparenting relationship to explore how they worked together as a team when parenting their child. Parents participated in the study 1–36 months after their child’s autism diagnosis. We used statistical techniques that allowed us to see the impact mothers and fathers had on each other. Overall, parents who felt more competent and supported by their partner worked better as a team to raise their child on the spectrum. Fathers invested in the coparenting relationship more when mothers felt more supported by fathers. Mothers invested in the coparenting relationship more when fathers felt more competent parenting their child. Further research is needed to better understand how we can support couples as their child gets older.

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          Most cited references93

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          Models of Non-Independence in Dyadic Research

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            The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model: A model of bidirectional effects in developmental studies

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              Potential roles of parental self-efficacy in parent and child adjustment: a review.

              This review examines the potential roles of parental self-efficacy (PSE) in parent and child adjustment and the role of parental cognitions in understanding behaviors and emotions within families. The areas in this review include parental competence and psychological functioning, as well as child behaviors, socio-emotional adjustment, school achievement, and maltreatment. There is strong evidence linking PSE to parental competence, and more modest linkage to parental psychological functioning. Some findings suggest that PSE impacts child adjustment directly but also indirectly via parenting practices and behaviors. Although the role of PSE likely varies across parents, children, and cultural-contextual factors, its influence cannot be overlooked as a possible predictor of parental competence and child functioning, or perhaps an indicator of risk. PSE may also be an appropriate target for prevention and intervention efforts. Limitations in the literature include measurement problems, variability in conceptualizations and definitions of the construct, and the lack of research exploring causality. Future research should focus on clarifying the measurement of PSE, studying potential bias in self-report of PSE, and utilizing experimental and longitudinal designs to untangle the issues of causal direction and potential transactional processes.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Autism
                Autism
                SAGE Publications
                1362-3613
                1461-7005
                January 2022
                June 08 2021
                January 2022
                : 26
                : 1
                : 121-134
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Université de Paris, LPPS, F-92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France
                [2 ]Department of Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry, Le Vinatier Hospital, 95 Boulevard Pinel, 69678 Bron CEDEX, France
                [3 ]Health Services and Performance Research (HESPER), Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, 43 Boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbane CEDEX, France
                [4 ]APHP, Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Service de psychopathologie de l'enfant et de l'adolescent, Paris, France
                [5 ]Le Moulin Vert, PDAP la Boussole, Paris, France
                [6 ]INSERM, CESP, « Team DevPsy », Villejuif, France
                [7 ]Centre de Ressources Autisme du Limousin, CHU de Limoges, 2 Avenue Dupuytren, 87000 Limoges, France
                [8 ]Université Paris-Saclay, UVSQ, Inserm, CESP, Equipe DevPsy, 78000, Versailles, France
                [9 ]Service Universitaire de Psychiatrie de l'Enfant et de l'Adolescent, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles
                Article
                10.1177/13623613211020916
                bf660a3f-bc43-4ca4-a946-c3f913913dec
                © 2022

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