This study explores parental reactions subsequent to receiving their child's autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-diagnosis. Seventy seven parents of recently diagnosed children participated in the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview. Within this group, associations between parental reaction to diagnosis, parental and child characteristics and prediagnostic circumstances were analysed. In a sub-sample, the stability of reaction to diagnosis was examined. The majority of parents were classified as 'resolved' regarding their child's diagnosis. Conversely, parents of children with more severe ASD symptoms or non-Dutch parents were more likely to be classified as 'unresolved'. Sub-sample analysis revealed stability of reaction to ASD-diagnosis. The majority of parents adapted well to the circumstances and the care for their child. Autism severity and parental nationality were significant factors affecting parental reactions. Thus, early identification of parental reaction to children's ASD-diagnosis may aid in providing more tailored parental support programs.

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Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Poslawsky, I., Naber, F., van Daalen, E., & van Engeland, H. (2013). Parental Reaction to Early Diagnosis of Their Children's Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Exploratory Study. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1–12. doi:10.1007/s10578-013-0400-z