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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 721418, 5 pages
Research Article

How Sex of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Access to Treatment Services Relates to Parental Stress

1Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
2USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, MS No. 53, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
3Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, 3020 Children’s Way, MC 5023, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
4University of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, 660 Charles E. Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 20 October 2014; Accepted 26 November 2014; Published 14 December 2014

Academic Editor: Klaus-Peter Ossenkopp

Copyright © 2014 Irina Zamora et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience higher levels of stress in comparison to parents of neurotypical children and consequently are more susceptible to negative health and social outcomes (Dunn et al., 2001). However, less is known about how individual child characteristics impact stress levels in parents of children with ASD. In this study, we examined the relationship between individual characteristics (i.e., sex) of children with ASD and parental stress. Access to comprehensive treatment services was also examined as a contributing factor to parental stress. Parenting stress was higher for parents of girls than for parents of boys, and for parents of girls (but not boys) fewer services predicted higher parental distress. Findings highlight the importance of providing parents of girls with ASD with more tailored support.