Primary Outcome Measures:
- Feasibility of the intervention [ Time Frame: 2 months ]
In recent years, there have been a growing number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). As such, this increase has expanded the number of caregivers of children with ASD. Research has shown that having a child with an ASD is stressful for caregivers and their families. More specifically, prior research suggests that caregivers of children with ASD may find it difficult to maintain feelings of control and to cope with the overall physical and emotional demands of caring for their child. A previous study of caregivers of children with ASD found that caregivers felt a lack of personal control over aspects of their child s condition and also found it difficult to cope with various demands of caregiving. Furthermore, this study found that greater levels of perceived personal control and the use of problem-focused coping strategies were associated with caregivers adaptation to their child s condition. As such, the goal of our research is to conduct a feasibility study using a coping effectiveness training (CET) intervention designed to enhance perceived personal control (PPC) and coping efficacy in caregivers of children with ASD. There has been a growing interest in developing interventions targeted at constructs involved in the adaptation process. However, there have been few studies of interventions targeting predictors of adaptation such as PPC and coping efficacy. Research has shown that the CET intervention can enhance coping efficacy in several other populations. This intervention also incorporates appraisals of one s ability to change a particular situation. The conceptual framework for our study was adapted from Lazarus and Folkman s Transactional Model of Stress and Coping. A cross-sectional randomized treatment-control design is proposed to evaluate the use of a CET intervention intended to enhance PPC and coping efficacy. Caregivers of children with ASD will be recruited from support groups, autism resource centers, and four clinics. Participants randomized to the treatment group will be asked to complete baseline and follow-up surveys and two 1.5-hour individualized in-person sessions. Participants randomized to the control group will be asked to complete baseline and follow-up surveys and two 1.5-hour individualized in-person client-centered discussion sessions. The main outcome measures will be participation, reasons for withdrawal, participants experiences within the intervention setting and their experiences in applying the intervention, PPC, coping efficacy, and coping effectiveness.