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ISSN: 1899-1874
Medical Studies/Studia Medyczne
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vol. 39
Original paper

Mothers’ temperament and psychosocial functioning of children with autism spectrum disorder

Justyna Cecylia Świerczyńska
Beata Pawłowska
Izabela Chojnowska-Ćwiąkała

Department of Psychology, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Rehabilitation, First Faculty of Medicine with Dentistry Division, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Medical Studies/Studia Medyczne 2023; 39 (3): 249–259
Online publish date: 2023/09/30
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The need for research aimed at identifying risk factors influencing both the occurrence and severity of autism spectrum disorder symptoms is justified by the rising prevalence of this disorder. Among significant predictors of difficulties in functioning of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are the parents’ personality traits, temperament being one of them.

Aim of the research
The aim of the study was to analyze the correlation between mothers’ temperament characteristics and the psychosocial functioning of their children, medically diagnosed with disorders belonging to the autism spectrum. Moreover, an attempt was made to distinguish the types of temperament of the surveyed women.

Material and methods
The study included 58 women raising children diagnosed with ASD (according to DSM-5). The following research methods were used in the study: a self-designed questionnaire, the EAS-D version of the Temperament Questionnaire by Buss and Plomin, a set of questionnaires for the Autism Spectrum Rating Scales by Goldstein and Naglieri and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire by Goodman.

The results of statistical analyses indicate the occurrence of a statistically significant positive correlation between the mothers’ negative emotionality and social isolation, and difficulties in psychological and social functioning in their children diagnosed with ASD. Based on the cluster analysis in the group of mothers of children with ASD, two subgroups differing in temperament types were distinguished. Mothers with distinguished types of temperament differ significantly in the assessment of the intensity of psychosocial difficulties in children diagnosed with ASD. Mothers’ temperament traits: a tendency to react with aggression, dissatisfaction and avoidance of social relationships are correlated with the child’s increased problems with behavior, social relations, and difficulties with emotion control and communication. Mothers of children with ASD constitute a diverse group in terms of temperament types. A group of mothers with a withdrawn temperament type/with increased negative emotionality and a group with an open type/with a low level of negative emotionality were distinguished. Women with the withdrawn/negative emotionality type of temperament assess that their children have significantly more increased difficulties with emotion control, social relations, behavior problems and more increased symptoms of ASD.

Children raised by mothers who avoid interpersonal interactions and have a propensity to express negative emotions (temperament type 1), struggle more with psychological and social functioning than children of mothers who are receptive to interpersonal interactions and do not have a propensity to react with aggression, hostility, or anxiety (type 2 temperament).


autism spectrum disorder, personality traits, psychosocial functioning, types of mother’s temperament

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