Autism Parenting Stress Index (APSI)


Stress among parents of children with autism has been found to be particularly high. Core symptoms, as well as co-morbid behavioral and physical problems, have been found to affect parents’ stress levels. The APSI was designed for clinical use to identify areas where parents need support with parenting skills, and to assess the effect of intervention on parenting stress.

The APSI was developed following many interviews of parents of children with autism. The Items fall into three categories: the core social disability, difficult-to-manage behaviour, and physical issues. Items are rated as being ‘Not stressful’, ‘Sometimes creates stress’, ‘Often creates stress’, ‘Very stressful on a daily basis’, to ‘So stressful that sometimes we feel we cannot cope.’ The APSI indicates how much stress parents are experiencing and what factors are causing this stress.


The overall APSI scale score demonstrates acceptable internal consistency and test–retest stability for parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities (Silva & Schalock, 2012).

Author of Tool:

Silva, L. M. T., & Schalock, M.

Key references:

Silva, L. M. T., & Schalock, M. (2012). Autism parenting stress index: Initial psychometric evidence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 566-574.

Primary use / Purpose:

The APSI is a unique measure of parenting stress specific to core and co-morbid symptoms of autism.

Autism Parenting Stress Index

Stress Ratings
 Please rate the following aspects of your child’s health according to how much stress it causes you and/or your family by placing an X in the box that best describes your situation.  Not stressful  Sometimes creates


Often creates


Very stressful on a daily


So stressful sometimes we feel we

can’t cope

 Your child’s social development 0 1 2 3 5
 Your child’s ability to communicate 0 1 2 3 5
 Tantrums/meltdowns 0 1 2 3 5
 Aggressive behavior (siblings, peers) 0 1 2 3 5
 Self-injurious behavior 0 1 2 3 5
Difficulty making transitions from one activity to another 0 1 2 3 5
 Sleep problems 0 1 2 3 5
 Your child’s diet 0 1 2 3 5
 Bowel problems (diarrhea, constipation) 0 1 2 3 5
 Potty training 0 1 2 3 5
 Not feeling close to your child 0 1 2 3 5
Concern for the future of your child being accepted by others 0 1 2 3 5
Concern for the future of your child living independently 0 1 2 3 5