Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Parents of Children with Autism

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently report poor psychological well-being.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of brief mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on perceived stress, anxiety, and depression among parents of children with ASD in Jordan.

After the intervention program, the one-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that parents in the intervention group had better outcomes on the measures of psychological well-being and mindfulness than those in the comparison group (P < 0.01). Furthermore, results of paired samples t test indicated that parents in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in measures of stress, anxiety, depression, and mindfulness scores with medium to large effect size (Cohen d between 0.42 and 0.85, P < 0.01).

Although the comparison group demonstrated small improvement in measures of the dependent variables, these improvements were much less than improvements in the intervention group. The MBIs are culturally adaptable, feasible, and effective interventions to improve psychological well-being in parents of children with ASD.

Full reference: Rayan, A. & Ahmad, M. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Perceived Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Among Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness. 8(677)

 

Mindfulness training for parents of children with special needs

Petcharat, M. & Liehr, P. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing | Published online: 27 April 2017

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Problem: Parents of children with special needs encounter specific challenges in carrying out their caregiving roles. They experience difficulty accepting their children due to unrealistically high expectations. Mindfulness training (MT) may increase parental psychological well-being and acceptance.

Objective: The purpose of this article is to examine the evidence-base for the effectiveness of MT in enhancing psychological well-being for parents of children with special needs as a foundation for guidance for nurses in mental health practice.

Findings: The studies indicated that cultivating a more mindful way of parenting is associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Parents experienced increased mindful awareness and improved psychological well-being, and they were more accepting of their children. Their children also had fewer behavior problems and enhanced positive interaction with their parents. Because mindfulness interventions fall within the scope of independent nursing practice, nurses can play a significant role in applying mindfulness to promote psychological well-being in parents who have children with special needs.

Read the full abstract here

Mindfulness and Support and Information Group Interventions for Parents of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Lunsky, Y. et al. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Published online: 3 April 2017

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This study evaluated two community based interventions for parents of adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.

Parents in the mindfulness group reported significant reductions in psychological distress, while parents in the support and information group did not. Reduced levels of distress in the mindfulness group were maintained at 20 weeks follow-up. Mindfulness scores and mindful parenting scores and related constructs (e.g., self-compassion) did not differ between the two groups.

Results suggest the psychological components of the mindfulness based group intervention were effective over and above the non-specific effects of group processes and informal support.

Read the abstract here

Trait Mindfulness Attenuates the Adverse Psychological Impact of Stigma on Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Chan, K.K.S. & Lam, C.B. Mindfulness (2017). doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0675-9

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Stigma attached to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is prevalent, but few studies have examined its psychological impact on parents of children with ASD and the potential protective factors in this family context. The present study aimed to test the associations of public stigma and courtesy stigma with depression, anxiety, and caregiving burden among parents of children with ASD and to explore whether trait mindfulness would moderate these associations.

Cross-sectional questionnaire data were collected from 424 parents of children with ASD residing in Hong Kong, China. Hierarchical regressions revealed significant interactions between public stigma and trait mindfulness and between courtesy stigma and trait mindfulness in predicting depression, anxiety, and caregiving burden.

Our findings contributed to the theoretical literature by highlighting the adverse impact of both public stigma and courtesy stigma on the mental health and caregiving experience of parents of children with ASD, as well as the potential protective effects of trait mindfulness in such processes. Our findings also had important practical implications for the design of effective interventions for this stigmatized group of families.

Read the abstract here

Exploring Nurses’, Preschool Teachers’ and Parents’ Perspectives on Information Sharing on Behavioural Problems

Fält, E. et al. PLOS One. Published online: January 11 2017

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Evidence-based methods to identify behavioural problems among children are not regularly used within the Swedish Child healthcare. A new procedure was therefore introduced to assess children through parent- and preschool teacher reports using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). This study aims to explore nurses’, preschool teachers’ and parents’ perspectives of this new information sharing model.

Read the full abstract and article here

Trends in parent- and teacher-rated mental health problems among 10- and 11-year-olds in Great Britain

Gutman, L.M. et al. Child and Adolescent Mental Health | Published online: 12 August 2016

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Background: Previous evidence indicates that mental health problems are becoming more common for adolescents. Less is known about whether these trends have continued and there has been no study to date which has specifically focused on early adolescents over a sufficiently long period. This study examines changes in parent- and teacher-reported mental health problems among 10- and 11-year-olds in 1999, 2004 and 2012 in Great Britain.

Method: Parent and teacher ratings of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were used to compare the prevalence of conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, emotional problems, peer problems and total difficulties among 10- and 11-year-olds in three nationally representative British samples assessed in 1999 (n = 1904), 2004 (n = 1348) and 2012 (n = 11,397).

Results: Teacher reports showed improving trends for boys’ and girls’ mental health from 1999 to 2012, particularly for externalizing behaviours (i.e. conduct problems and hyperactivity/inattention). Parent reports, on the other hand, identified only one area of sustained improvement between 1999 and 2012, namely hyperactivity/inattention among boys. Although parent reports of girls’ mental health indicate improving trends from 1999 to 2004, they also suggest worsening mental health from 2004.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that perceptions of emotional and behavioural problems vary by the gender of the adolescent, the context in which they are observed or by whom they are reported.

Read the abstract here

Parents fear mental health ‘life sentence’

Story via OnMedica

A new survey reveals that many parents fear a diagnosis of mental illness will amount to a “life sentence” for their child. The research commissioned for MQ Mental Health, a new charity which supports and funds research into mental health, reveals that 67% of parents who took part in the survey said they would worry that their son or daughter might never recover from a mental illness. And 74% were concerned that mental health issues might get worse over time.

The survey also indicates support for greater investment. More than four in five adults agree that “more should be done to tackle mental illness for the future”, rising to 97% among those with lived experience of mental illness. Some 68% of adults surveyed believe that the current proportion of funding for mental health research is too low and, on average, respondents think 20% of the total UK medical research budget should be spent on mental illness.