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Cognitive Therapy Helps Parents after Child Autism Diagnosis

Cognitive Therapy Helps Parents after Child Autism DiagnosisA new study suggests a form of cognitive therapy may help reduce parental stress and depressive symptoms immediately after their child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The technique is known as problem-solving education (PSE) and has been shown to help mothers of children with autism.

Mother’s often experience high levels of parental stress, depressive symptoms, and social isolation after a child has been diagnosed with ASD.

This psychological distress suggests a need for interventions that specifically address parental mental health after a child’s diagnosis, says Emily Feinberg, CPNP, Sc.D., of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues.

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 parental stress (3.8 percent vs. 29.3 percent, respectively). PSE mothers were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than the other group, but the difference was not statistically significant.

“Future analyses will examine the effect of intervention over a longer followup 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.

Source: The JAMA Network Journals

 

Woman talking with therapist photo by shutterstock.

Cognitive Therapy Helps Parents after Child Autism Diagnosis

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Cognitive Therapy Helps Parents after Child Autism Diagnosis. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/12/cognitive-therapy-helps-parents-after-child-autism-diagnosis/61939.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.