Social Science Update: What is the relationship status among families with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?

In 2012, social scientists conducted a population based study that looked at over 77,000 children ages 3-17. Of these children, 913 were reported to have a current ASD diagnosis and 1,412 had been diagnosed with ASD in the past. This study looked at family composition, co-morbid conditions, and maternal mental and physical health.

This study found that children with an ASD diagnosis were more likely than other children to have an externalizing disorder, such as problems with behavior or conduct, or ADHD.

There was no association between living with two biological or adoptive parents versus with one biological parent and a stepparent. The study also found that having other co-morbid disorders is related to not living with two biological or adoptive parents.

These results are contrary to a previous study that found a higher rate of divorce among families with a child with ASD.

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