Attachment and child behaviour and emotional problems in autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 2020, 33, (3), pp. 475-487
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Behaviour and emotional problems are highly prevalent in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In typically developing children, attachment quality acts as a risk/protective factor for behavioural outcomes and adjustment, warranting investigation in children with ASD. Method: We investigated the relationship between attachment and child behaviour and emotional problems in children with ASD and comorbid intellectual disability. Data were collected from parent–child dyads where children were diagnosed with ASD and ID (n = 28) or other developmental disabilities (n = 20). Results: Children with ASD had higher levels of behaviour and emotional problems and more attachment difficulties than children with other developmental disabilities. Poorer attachment quality contributed uniquely to the variance in child behaviour and emotional problems. Conclusions: Interventions targeting behaviour and emotional problems in children with ASD may benefit from an attachment model which addresses the child's difficulty in using caregivers as a coregulatory agent of emotions.
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