Relationship between gastrointestinal symptoms in autism spectrum disorder and parent stress, anxiety, depression, quality of life and social support

Mannion, Arlene
Leader, Geraldine
Mannion, Arlene, & Leader, Geraldine. (2023). Relationship Between Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Parent Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Quality of Life and Social Support. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803-023-06110-7
Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are a common comorbidity in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Little is known about the impact that GI symptoms have on parental well-being. Parents of 409 children and adolescents with ASD completed the GI Symptoms Inventory, Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, World Health Organization Quality of Life Abbreviated Version, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. High levels of stress were demonstrated by parents with 40.1% receiving clinically significant scores. A relationship was found between parental stress and GI symptoms. Parental anxiety and depression were found at high levels but were not more common in parents of individuals with GI symptoms than those without. Lower levels of quality of life were found in parents of individuals with GI symptoms compared to parents of individuals without GI symptoms. Parents of children with GI symptoms were less satisfied with their personal and social relationships with others. Parents of children with GI symptoms had lower scores on a measure of perceived social support than parents of children and adolescents without GI symptoms. GI symptoms are stressful for parents and future research is needed to determine how to alleviate this stress and to improve the quality of life of parents of individuals with ASD.
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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)