Teaching Parents Behavioral Strategies for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Effects on Stress, Strain, and Competence

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Apr;48(4):1031-1040. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3339-2.


We report on parent outcomes from a randomized clinical trial of parent training (PT) versus psychoeducation (PEP) in 180 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and disruptive behavior. We compare the impact of PT and PEP on parent outcomes: Parenting Stress Index (PSI), Parent Sense of Competence (PSOC), and Caregiver Strain Questionnaire (CGSQ). Mixed-effects linear models evaluated differences at weeks 12 and 24, controlling for baseline scores. Parents in PT reported greater improvement than PEP on the PSOC (ES = 0.34), CGSQ (ES = 0.50), and difficult child subdomain of the PSI (ES = 0.44). This is the largest trial assessing PT in ASD on parent outcomes. PT reduces disruptive behavior in children, and improves parental competence while reducing parental stress and parental strain.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Parent training; Parental competence; Parental stress.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / nursing*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Caregivers / education
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Problem Behavior / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires