Brief Report: Reductions in Parenting Stress in the Context of PEERS—A Social Skills Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Social skills intervention is an evidence-based practice for enhancing communication and interpersonal skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participation in the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®), a manualized social skills intervention for adolescents with ASD, is associated with improved social skills and peer interactions, as well as decreased autism symptoms. Participation in PEERS® has also been linked to increased parent self-efficacy and decreased family chaos. The present study examined parenting stress in the context of PEERS®. Following participation in PEERS®, parents reported lower levels of parenting stress associated with adolescent mood and social isolation. These findings provide further evidence of the family-wide benefits of adolescent-focused social skills intervention.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the facilitators, graduate students, and families who participated in the PEERS program at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

Funding

Funding for this project provided by a grant from the New York State Department of Education C816000.

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Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Data preparation and analysis were performed by AM. The first draft of the manuscript was written by LLC (Introduction and Discussion), CJ (Methods), and AM (Results). All authors edited and commented on several versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Laura L. Corona.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (include name of committee + reference number) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Data used in this study came from participants enrolled in ongoing social skills programming through a university-affiliated autism center. Deidentified data was analyzed retrospectively, after groups had been completed. Institutional review board (IRB) approval for the use of this existing data was obtained. Because existing data were analyzed retrospectively, a waiver of informed consent for use of existing data was also obtained from the IRB.

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Corona, L.L., Janicki, C., Milgramm, A. et al. Brief Report: Reductions in Parenting Stress in the Context of PEERS—A Social Skills Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 5073–5077 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04201-y

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Adolescence
  • Social skills intervention
  • Parenting stress