Autism caregivers will undergo Coping Effectiveness Training in a new study aimed at combating caregiver stress.
Coping Effectiveness Training, which is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, has been successful at reducing stress and increasing feelings of control in other high-stress groups – including spinal cord injury and HIV-positive patients. The study is being conducted at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
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 wit h 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.