Article Type: Original Research
What Runs in the Family? Relations Between Parent-Child Characteristics in Cases with Autism and Typical Development
Tuba Mutluer, Ceymi Doenyas, Safak Eray
Objective: Though twin studies have mainly been the focus of genetic studies in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), trait inheritance studies between parents and children are also valuable to guide genetic investigations. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the relationship between parent psychological and behavioral profiles and child problem behaviors in families with children with ASD and children with typical development (TD). In the ASD group, we further investigated specific associations between psychological symptoms of parents and ASD-specific behaviors of children.
Methods: Childhood Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90R) were used to measure behavior problems of children and psychological problems in parents. These scales were used with children with ASD and their mothers (n = 64) and TD children and their mothers (n = 53). Additionally, for children with ASD only, the ASD diagnosis was confirmed with semi-structured interviews using Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and behavioral domains were measured with the help of Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC).
Results: Both the CBCL and the SCL-90R scores were higher in the ASD group compared to the TD group. In the ASD group, beyond demographic variables, mother obsessive-compulsive symptoms significantly predicted child stereotypic behaviors and inappropriate speech, which includes repetitive speech and repeating words/phrases. Mother depression symptoms significantly predicted inappropriate speech in children with ASD beyond demographic variables.
Conclusion: Our findings point to obsessive-compulsive traits as potential targets of investigation in the quest to unravel the genetic profile of ASD. Parent obsessive-compulsive symptoms may have a hereditary component that can constitute a risk factor for ASD or for the severity of specific behavioral domains of ASD in their children.


Key words: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Child Behaviors, Family, Inheritance, Obsessive-Compulsive, Parent-Child, Parent Symptoms
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 2020;10(3):103-109
Online ISSN: 2636-834X
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License