Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


The double ABCX model of adaptation in racially diverse families with a school-age child with autism

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Health Policy and Research; Shriver Center; Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



*Adaptation, Psychological; Autistic Disorder; Child; Child Behavior; Cultural Diversity; Family; Female; Humans; Male; Models, Psychological; Parenting; Questionnaires; Regression Analysis; Social Support; Stress, Psychological


Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


In this study, the Double ABCX model of family adaptation was used to explore the impact of severity of autism symptoms, behavior problems, social support, religious coping, and reframing, on outcomes related to family functioning and parental distress. The sample included self-report measures collected from 195 families raising school-age children with autism from racially diverse backgrounds throughout the United States.

Hierarchical regression results revealed that the Double ABCX model of family adaptation accounted for a substantial amount of the variance in family functioning (28%) and parental distress (46%).

Findings suggest that child behavior problems and reframing are most strongly associated with family outcomes. Clinical implications for working with these families, including the use of strength-based approaches, are discussed.

DOI of Published Version



J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Mar;41(3):320-31. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1056-1. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of autism and developmental disorders

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed