Problem-solving education reduces parental stress after child autism diagnosis

November 11, 2013

A cognitive-behavioral intervention known as problem-solving education (PSE) may help reduce parental stress and depressive symptoms immediately after their child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study by Emily Feinberg, CPNP, Sc.D., of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues.

Mothers of children with ASD consistently report high levels of parental stress, depressive symptoms, and social isolation, according to the study background. This psychological distress suggests a need for interventions that specifically address parental mental health after a child's diagnosis.

Researchers conducted a clinical trial in an autism clinic and six community-based early intervention programs with 122 mothers of young children (under 6 years) who recently received a diagnosis of ASD. Fifty-nine mothers received six sessions of PSE (structured problem-solving) and 63 mothers received usual care (behavioral methods). Parental stress and maternal depressive symptoms were then measured after three months of treatment.

According to study results, a lower proportion of PSE mothers, compared to usual care mothers, had (3.8 percent vs. 29.3 percent, respectively). PSE mothers were also less likely to report than the other group, but the difference was not statistically significant.

"Future analyses will examine the effect of intervention over a longer follow-up period and allow us to assess whether the intervention worked differently among subgroups of mothers, which is knowledge that could help us better target those most likely to benefit from the intervention," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Intervention helps mothers of children diagnosed with cancer

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 11, 2013. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.3445

Related Stories

Intervention helps mothers of children diagnosed with cancer

January 31, 2013

(HealthDay)—Compared with a nondirective support intervention, mothers of children recently diagnosed with cancer who participate in the Bright IDEAS problem-solving skills training (PSST) intervention experience beneficial ...

Gap between maternity policies revealed

August 19, 2013

Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their child spend 6.6 hours a week longer milk feeding than mothers who partially breastfeed or formula feed, which has important implications for health policies and programs, including ...

Intervention for NICU moms reduces their trauma, anxiety

September 5, 2013

(HealthDay)—An intervention aimed at reducing parental trauma and redefining the parental experience for those with very premature newborns is both feasible and cost-effective, according to a study published online Sept. ...

How are children affected by maternal anxiety and depression?

October 24, 2013

Maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression increased the risk of emotional and disruptive problem behaviors in children as early as 18 months of age, according to new research findings from the TOPP study. The risk persisted ...

Recommended for you

Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of autism in mice

June 9, 2015

Bread, cereal and other sugary processed foods cause rapid spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar. In contrast, diets made up of vegetables, fruits and whole grains are healthier, in part because they take longer to ...

Neuroscientists reveal autism's 'noisy' secret

May 26, 2015

Strapped into a motion-enabled simulator and wearing 3D glasses, 36 adolescent volunteers recently experienced what it was like to "travel" through a field of virtual stars. The experiments provided new and convention-busting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.