Advisory Committee Chair
Laura A Stoppelbein
Advisory Committee Members
Sarah E O'Kelley
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences
Parent-related and environmental factors are both important variables in predicting and understanding internalizing and externalizing child behaviors. In clinical child populations, these factors are particularly important not only because of the increased demands the child’s disorder places on their caregivers and their environment but also because of the increased levels of internalizing and externalizing child behaviors associated with childhood psychopathology. Two such clinical child populations are Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Specifically, parents of children with these disorders are at increased risk of experiencing poorer parental adjustment which affects their parenting behaviors and the routines they establish in the child’s environment which, in turn, affects child behavior. In the present study, we first sought to elucidate specific parent and environmental factors that predicted child behavior in ADHD and ASD. We examined the roles of parental adjustment, parenting behaviors (positive and maladaptive), and routines on child behavior. Secondly, we examined the differential pattern of predictions among these variables between ADHD and ASD. Current literature implicates the aforementioned variables in predicting child behavior in each diagnostic group but due to differences in the core symptoms of each disorder, we hypothesized that the pattern and strength of associations would vary between groups. By elucidating potentially differential patterns, we could increase our understanding of the ways in which parental and environmental factors impact child behavior for special populations and also further inform treatment in a manner specific to each diagnosis. Results indicated that for both groups, parental adjustment directly predicted child externalizing behavior and indirectly through maladaptive parenting behavior. Furthermore, positive parenting predicted internalizing behavior whereas maladaptive parenting predicted externalizing behavior. However, the role of child routines predicted child behavior differently for ADHD and ASD in both strength, direction, and type of child behavior. These findings have important implications for interventions on several levels (e.g., parental adjustment, parenting behaviors, and environmental supports) in both the ADHD and ASD populations. In this paper, we will discuss ways in which these findings can inform treatment for parent-child dyads across populations as well as ways that are unique to each diagnosis.
McRae, Elizabeth, "Predicting Internalizing and Externalizing Child Behavior: A Comparative Analysis between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" (2017). All ETDs from UAB. 2450.