Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

S. Jean Caraway

Abstract

Associations between the Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) and depressive symptoms among parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been well established. However, the nature of this relationship has not been examined; emotion dysregulation and perceived social support could provide further understanding. This study aimed to explore the indirect association between BAP traits and depressive symptoms via emotion dysregulation and perceived social support. Participants were 219 parents of children with ASD, ages ranging from 22 to 69 years old (M = 38.37, SD = 8.72). Participants completed online questionnaires including the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ), Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD-D), and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Results of the mediated path analysis indicated that emotion dysregulation partially mediated the relationship between BAP traits, particularly pragmatic language deficits and aloofness, and depressive symptoms. It is possible that parents with children with ASD with pragmatic language deficits and increased aloofness are more likely to experience higher levels of emotion dysregulation, which leads to the presence of greater depressive symptoms. Exploratory analyses also examined specific facets of emotion dysregulation and perceived social support that are important to consider. The findings of the current study provide support for the importance of screening for BAP traits and depressive symptoms and intervening at the emotion regulation and perceived significant other support level in parents of children with ASD.

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Keywords

Broad Autism Phenotype, Social Support, Emotion Regulation, Depression

Number of Pages

147

Publisher

University of South Dakota

Available for download on Saturday, November 12, 2022

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