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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Caregivers of Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: a Systematic Review

Abstract

Purpose of review

This systematic review examined research on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDDs). Specifically, we examined ACT delivery format, inclusion of treatment fidelity, facilitator/intervention acceptability measures, and effectiveness of the intervention immediately after ACT and at follow-up. We also summarized the type of outcome measures most commonly used.

Recent findings

ACT has been shown to increase psychological flexibility and decrease stress in caregivers of children with NDDs, which is important because this population often reports high stress.

Summary

A variety of strategies were used to facilitate ACT, including experiential exercises, role-playing, and discussions. Three articles discussed treatment fidelity, and two articles included facilitator/intervention acceptability measures. All articles that met inclusion criteria (N = 11) employed indirect outcome measures (e.g. questionnaires) to assess impacts of ACT on caregivers, with only one study also including direct outcomes. Findings are discussed in relation to future research directions.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Kendra Thomson.

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Carly Magnacca, Kendra Thomson and Amanda Marcinkiewicz declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

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Magnacca, C., Thomson, K. & Marcinkiewicz, A. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Caregivers of Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: a Systematic Review. Curr Dev Disord Rep 8, 152–160 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-021-00228-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-021-00228-y

Keywords

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Caregiver training
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities