Parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is often associated with reduced quality of life, high stress, depression and anxiety due to the ongoing nature of care. This review systematically investigated the efficacy of mindfulness interventions in reducing stress and increasing psychological wellbeing in parents of children with ASD. A comprehensive electronic database search was conducted for relevant articles. Only studies investigating parental stress or a measure of psychological wellbeing in parents of children with ASD post a mindfulness-based intervention were included. Ten studies met inclusion criteria; each was examined for treatment fidelity. All included studies contributed at least one self-report finding supporting the efficacy of mindfulness interventions in reducing stress and increasing psychological wellbeing. Three studies included physiological measures of reduced stress and emotional responses. Two reported concomitant improvements in child behavior. Mindfulness-based interventions potentially have long-term positive effects on stress levels and psychological wellbeing of parents of children with ASD, in addition to enhancing their child’s behavior. Future research is needed to develop a cost and time effective intervention aimed at maximising efficacy of current interventions in children with ASD and their parents.
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References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the Systematic Review
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Cachia, R.L., Anderson, A. & Moore, D.W. Mindfulness, Stress and Well-Being in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1–14 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0193-8
- Autism Spectrum Disorder