Marital satisfaction and parenting experiences of mothers and fathers of adolescents and adults with autism

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2011 Jan;116(1):81-95. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-116.1.81.


The association of marital satisfaction with parenting burden and quality of the parent?child relationship was examined in 91 married mothers and fathers of co-residing adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Within-couple differences between mothers and fathers in how child characteristics related to these parenting experiences were also evaluated. Multilevel modeling was used to control for the dependency in couple data. Marital satisfaction was an important predictor of parenting experiences, particularly for fathers. Mothers reported feeling closer to their son or daughter than did fathers. Fathers' parenting experiences were more strongly impacted by child characteristics than were mothers' parenting experiences. Results emphasized the connection between the marital relationship and parenting experiences and overlapping but unique experiences of mothers and fathers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Family Conflict / psychology*
  • Family Health
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Predictive Value of Tests

Grant support