Date of Award

5-1-2018

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark

Abstract

Therapist burnout is of primary concern for individuals who provide ABA therapy for those with autism or related disabilities. Prolonged high levels of work-related stress increase the risk of negative interactions and emotional exhaustion among workers. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may alleviate this problem. ACT has been found to decrease levels of perceived work-related stress among direct care staff. The primary purpose of the study was to evaluate whether ACT would improve positive interactions among therapists for children with autism spectrum disorder. The results indicated that the percentage of positive interactions had improved an average of 23.1% and procedural fidelity improved an average of 7% across all three participants. This study extends that of previous research by supporting the efficacy of ACT in work environments. One implication of the current study is that it could benefit the psychological well-being of ABA therapists. Future studies should examine whether ACT-exercises influence the way therapists address challenging behavior as it pertains to the quality of services delivered.

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