Researchers examining the relationship of autism symptomatology and maternal stress have defined symptomatology in terms of level of severity, frequency of occurrence, or symptom type. In the present study, the relationship of maternal perceptions of these dimensions, along with a fourth, symptom diversity, and negative and positive indices of maternal socioemotional functioning was evaluated. Results indicate that each of these symptom dimensions was correlated with most of the measures of negative socioemotional status, together accounting for a substantial portion of the variance in these outcomes. The dimensions were especially robust predictors of negative but not positive maternal outcomes. The need for a systematic multidimensional assessment to evaluate autism symptomatology and its social impact was discussed.

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