An evaluation of the autism, emotional well-being and adolescence programme; a locally developed psychoeducation intervention for parents of young people with autism

Bishop, Tracey (2018) An evaluation of the autism, emotional well-being and adolescence programme; a locally developed psychoeducation intervention for parents of young people with autism. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Introduction: Promoting the mental health of young people is identified as a key priority in the United Kingdom (Department of Health & Department for Education, 2017). Particular groups in the population are at an increased risk of poorer mental health outcomes, for example, it is known that there is a high comorbidity between autism and mental health conditions, with an increase in prevalence around adolescence (de Bruin, Ferdinand, Meester, de Nijs & Verheij, 2006). Consequently, there has been a call for research that explores approaches to support the management of emotional issues for people with autism (Pellicano, Dinsmore & Charman, 2014). In response, this study presents the first evaluation of the Autism, Emotional Well-being and Adolescence (AEWA) psychoeducation programme for families of children with autism. The programme aims to develop parents’ understanding of emotional wellbeing and how to promote it, with a particular focus on adolescence.

Method: A mixed methods approach was used in the study. The quantitative aspect of the study utilised a quasi-experimental pre- and post-design to explore the relationship between the AEWA programme and parents’ perceived knowledge and confidence. Data was collected from nine participants in the experimental group and ten participants in the wait-list control group using a specifically constructed measure. The qualitative design involved exploring patterns in the experiences of six participants who attended the AEWA programme, using thematic analysis on the data gathered in semi-structured interviews.

Results: The quantitative results suggested that attending the AEWA programme leads to an increase in parents’ perceived knowledge and confidence in their ability to meet the emotional well-being needs of their child with autism, through the potential challenges of adolescence. These results were supported by the qualitative findings. The thematic analysis results suggest that participants valued the content of the programme, the structure and approach to delivery and the opportunity to come together offered by the programme. It was also suggested that following the AEWA programme, participants experienced some changes and challenges.

Conclusion: The evidence suggests a psychoeducation programme aimed at parents of children with autism, focusing on emotional well-being and challenges in adolescence, can have a positive impact on parents. This has the potential to support the developmental context of individuals with autism, as they grow older and the challenges change. Given these finding and considering the methodological limitations identified in this study, it appears research would benefit from further investigation in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Ryrie, Neil
Durbin, N.
Keywords: Autism, Emotional well-being, Adolescence, Parent programme, Educational Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC 321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 55060
Depositing User: Bishop, Tracey
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 11:17
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 08:02

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