Emotion Regulation Strategies in Preschoolers with Autism: Associations with Parent Quality of Life and Family Functioning

Heather Joy Nuske*, Darren Hedley, Chen Hsiang Tseng, Sander Begeer, Cheryl Dissanayake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Children with autism experience challenges with emotion regulation. It is unclear how children’s management of their emotions is associated with their family’s quality of life. Forty-three preschoolers with autism and 28 typically developing preschoolers were coded on emotion regulation strategies used during low-level stress tasks. Parents reported on their quality of life and family functioning, and their child’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors. More externalizing behaviors across groups and use of two emotion regulation strategies (self-soothing, deep exhalation) in the autism group predicted lower family quality of life. Findings suggest that children’s emotional outbursts and reduced use of passive comforting strategies are linked to lower family quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Nov 2017


Acknowledgments First and foremost, the authors would like to thank the families who took part in this study. We would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all the students who worked on the testing, behavioural coding and data entry aspects of the project (in alphabetical order): Erin Battersby, Luke Bolt, Daniela Calafiore, Lacey Chetcuti, Siobhan Ede, Samantha Galea, Ellen Hall, Siobhan Korbut, Alice Maier, Jacqueline Maya, Natalie Mizzi, Anushka Phal, Imogen Redden, Ensu Sahin, Danielle Smith, Yvonne Tran, Jessica Tsoutsoulis, Pinar Uluer and Jennifer Vong. This work was supported by the Pierce Armstrong Foundation.

FundersFunder number
Pierce Armstrong Foundation


    • Comforting strategies
    • Emotion regulation strategies
    • Externalizing behaviors
    • Family functioning
    • Parent quality of life


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