Parental Outcomes Following Participation in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) benefit from parent involvement in their therapy, and there is evidence that this involvement may improve parent functioning as well. We examined changes in parent mental health, parenting, and expressed emotion, following participation in a randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavior therapy for 57 children with ASD. Post-intervention, improvements occurred in the treatment group in parent depression and emotion regulation, compared to waitlisted parents. Treatment effects also occurred across all parents in depression, emotion regulation, perceptions of their children and mindful parenting. Though preliminary, these results have implications for intervention development and evaluation by focusing on parent outcomes in child treatment.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    One child was included who had an overall IQ score of 79, as his verbal performance was higher than his nonverbal performance and it was felt that 79 was an underestimate of his ability.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the many families and graduate students who participated in this research.

Funding

This study was funded by the Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research to Dr. Weiss (#RN284208; Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with NeuroDevNet, the Sinneave Family Foundation, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, Autism Speaks Canada and Health Canada). Additional funds from York University.

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AM conceived of the study, participated in its design and data interpretation, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript; JW developed the larger study design, oversaw the data collection, statistical analyses and interpretation, and assisted in manuscript preparation. Both authors approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Andrea L. Maughan or Jonathan A. Weiss.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Maughan, A.L., Weiss, J.A. Parental Outcomes Following Participation in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 3166–3179 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3224-z

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Parenting
  • Mental health
  • Expressed emotion