Date of Award

5-1-2018

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne

Abstract

Research consistently demonstrates parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience more parental stress than parents with children in any other developmental category (Hayes & Watson, 2013). Previous research has begun investigating the use of ACT protocols as an intervention to increase psychological flexibility and reduce stress among this population (Hahs, Dixon, and Palilunas, 2018). Due to evidence provided in the literature demonstrating ACT as an effective intervention for parents of individuals with ASD, the current study conducted an evaluation of a brief ACT training in comparison with a traditional parent support group for this population. Participants of the study were twenty caregivers of an individual diagnosed with ASD. Each intervention consisted of two, two-hour sessions. Participants were provided with the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II and Parental Stress Scale pre and post intervention. Independent t-tests were ran in order to determine if mean change scores differed on the questionnaires across the ACT and TAU groups. Results of the independent t-test indicated that the difference in mean change scores of the AAQ-II across groups was statistically significant, however the difference in mean change scores of the PSS were not. Clinical implications are offered.

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