Date of Award

5-1-2019

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an epidemic that continues to increase in prevalence. It not only effects the individuals with the diagnosis but also the family. Parental stress is higher in parents of children with disabilities, including those with ASD. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of providing a brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training to parents of children diagnosed with ASD via an online platform and evaluating subsequent changes in physiological and self-report stress measures. A non-concurrent multiple baseline was used across three experimental participants and two control participants. All three experimental participants experienced a decrease in heart rate between baseline and intervention phases. At the follow-up probe, two of the three experimental participants had a heart rate lower than their original resting heart rate. Control participants, who did not receive the ACT intervention, experienced either an increase in heart rate or no change during the baseline phase when compared to their original resting heart rate. This provided evidence for the efficacy of a brief online ACT training in lowering parental stress levels.

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