Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Times of COVID-19: Examining Emotional and Behavioral Problems, Parental Well-Being, and Resilience

Donna A. de Maat*, Ruth Van der Hallen, Pieter F.A. de Nijs, Kirsten Visser, Dennis Bastiaansen, Femke L. Truijens, Elisabeth H.M. van Rijen, Wietske Ester, Peter Prinzie, Pauline W. Jansen, Linda P. Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This longitudinal study assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 62; M age = 13 years) by measuring emotional and behavioral problems before and during the pandemic, and by comparing this change to a matched sample of children without ASD (n = 213; M age = 16 years). Moreover, we examined whether indicators of parental well-being promoted resilience of children with ASD. Results showed that the mean change in problems did not differ between children with and without ASD. Importantly, some children showed an increase in problems, while others showed resilience. Parental well-being indicators were not related to resilience among children with ASD. The interindividual variability in responses, particularly among children with ASD, highlights the need for personalized support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date22 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Rotterdam Autism Consortium (R. A. C.) for designing and conducting the ASD & COVID-19 study, which made the current study possible. The ASD & COVID-19 study is supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), within the program ‘COVID-19 Focus area 2. Care and prevention, Theme 2: Care and prevention for vulnerable citizens’ (project number: 10430022010007). The general design of Generation R is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Youth and Families. DdM was funded by the Erasmus Initiatives ‘Vital Cities and Citizens’ of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Research programs

  • ESSB PSY

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