Parental Reaction to a Diagnosis of Autism: How Resolution Relates to Parental Reflective Functioning and Parenting Stress

Jenna Brooke Rosen, Pace University

Abstract

The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationships among a parent's resolution of a diagnosis of autism ascribed to his/her child, parental reflective functioning, as assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview, and total reported parenting stress. Success of the resolution of a diagnosis of a chronic illness or disability has important implications for the parent-child relationship. Prior research suggests that resolution promotes enhancement of the caregiver representational system and fosters more reciprocal and attuned caregiving behaviors, whereas non-resolution impedes these attainments (Pianta, Marvin, & Morog, 1999). Furthermore, the parent's capacity to envision the mental states of her or his own primary caregiving figures is predictive of the infant's security of attachment to each parent (Fonagy, Steele, Moran, Steele, & Higgitt, 1991a). It would follow that Unresolved status and/or a lack of reflectivity evidenced by a parent would call for intervention. In the current study, examination of hypothesized relationships between parental resolution and reflectivity, and between parental resolution and total reported stress related to parenting did not yield significant findings. However, there was a significant relationship between parental reflectivity and total reported stress related to parenting (PSI-Parent). Specifically, a parent feeling greater stress in the parenting role is more likely to show a higher level of reflectivity than a parent feeling less parenting stress. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, General|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Jenna Brooke Rosen, "Parental Reaction to a Diagnosis of Autism: How Resolution Relates to Parental Reflective Functioning and Parenting Stress" (January 1, 2013). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3570196.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3570196

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