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Exploring attachment and the affective quality of the parent - child relationship on associated psychological outcomes in autistic children
2022, O'Dowd, Niamhin
The current thesis aimed to explore the parent-child relationship in Autistic children and adolescents, and the implications this relationship has on child development. The thesis consists of two studies, a systematic review and an empirical study, which look at two aspects of parent-child relationships in Autism. In the systematic review, the correlates of the parent-child attachment relationship in Autism were examined, with mixed findings. Language, play, and developmental level seemed to have associations with attachment, while little research investigated internalising and externalising symptoms. The empirical study examined the relationship between parental affective attitudes, Autistic characteristics, and internalising and externalising symptoms. Results demonstrated high rates of internalising and externalising symptoms in this Irish population, however there were very few associations between parental affective attitudes and Autistic characteristics or co-occurring symptoms. Limitations regarding both studies are outlined, and clinical implications and avenues for future research are discussed.