When faced with child-related challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder, positive and negative social exchanges may be critical to parents’ psychological well-being. This study examined the types and sources of positive and negative social exchanges reported by mothers and fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder and their association with parental depressive symptoms in 176 families of children (5–12 years; 85% male) with autism spectrum disorder. One-way repeated measure multivariate analyses of variance and multilevel modeling were used. Results indicated that informational was the most frequent type, and one’s spouse was the primary source, of both positive and negative social exchanges. Fathers reported fewer positive, and also fewer negative, social exchanges with family, friends, and health professionals than mothers. Positive and negative social exchanges with one’s spouse were most strongly associated with depressive symptoms. Findings have implications for interventions designed to foster optimal outcomes in families of children with autism spectrum disorder. (Author abstract)
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