Researchers at the University of Washington's Autism Center compared stress levels in the mothers of children with autism to those in the mothers of children with developmental delay. They studied 73 mothers and their children. 51 of the children had autism and 22 had developmental delays. The mothers filled out questionnaires about their stress levels and their children's developmental progress. They found that the mothers of children with autism had higher levels of stress. Problem behaviour was associated with higher levels of stress among both sets of mothers but this relationship was stronger in the mothers of autistic children. There was no link between children's levels of daily-living skills and maternal stress suggesting that it was the children's behaviour problems not their developmental difficulties which were stressing the mothers.
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