This study examined the relation among maternal judgment of intentionality and variables relevant to families of children with autism. Thirty-six mothers of children with autism rated segments of home videotape of behavior from very young children later diagnosed with autism. Mothers were randomly assigned to either a diagnostic or a no diagnostic information group. No significant difference was found on overall ratings of intentionality. Maternal stress was not correlated with overall ratings of intentionality for either group. Mothers in the diagnostic information group rated stereotyped behavior as less intentional. Post hoc analyses showed no differences on maternal ratings of intentionality when the child was in a social setting or interacting with an object, but there were significant differences between ratings when the child was alone. The results are discussed in relation to early development and identification issues in autism.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was completed by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NICHD) grant no. 35682. We are indebted to Dr. Steven Reznick for his procedural assistance and cogent suggestions, Dr. Grace Baranek for providing the early home videos, Dr. James W. Bodfish for his analytic advice, and to the mothers of children with autism for their willingness to participate in this study.
- Family functioning
- Maternal judgments