ACT Online: Stress Reduction for Parents who have Children with DD

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43MH082469-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: MH082469
Amount: $233,890.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2007-2
Small Business Information
258 E 10TH AVE, STE B, EUGENE, OR 97401, EUGENE, OR, 97401
DUNS: 072307593
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 (541) 342-2110
Business Contact
Phone: (541) 343-4747
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Parenting a child can be a stressful undertaking. One group that is the focus of considerable study consists of parents of children with developmental disabilities (DD) especially autism. These parents report more paren ting stress than do parents of children without disabilities. Families of children with autism and other types of DD experience excessive caretaking demands, financial burden, restrictions on leisure and social activities, and disruptions of family plans. The increased stress experienced by these parents tends to be chronic and last over significant periods of time. Recent approaches to the management of stress have been based on the concept of mindfulness - the awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance of one 's ongoing experiences. Mindfulness-based interventions have received recent empirical support and have the potential to help parents become more aware of their negative thoughts and feelings associated with increased caregiver burden while at the same tim e supporting ways to change how they relate to their child with a disability. One prominent and well researched mindfulness intervention that will serve as the framework for this project is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-ACT. The overall aim of this pro ject, Acceptance and Commitment Training Online: Stress Reduction for Parents who have Children with DD, will be to demonstrate that the intervention is effective in reducing parental stress associated with raising a child with disabilities. In Phase I, th e research team will determine the feasibility of ACT Online by testing Module 1. The test will be conducted with 40 parents who have children with DD (20 parents of children with autism and 20 parents of children with other developmental disabilities). Pr ogram feasibility will be demonstrated by the achievement of the following benchmarks: (a) a high level of program usage; (b) a high degree of consumer satisfaction; and (c) clinically meaningful changes in knowledge, self-efficacy, state anxiety, and pare ntal distress. A large scale randomized trial will be conducted in Phase II to evaluate the efficacy of the nine module stress management program. The Phase II trial will have sufficient statistical power to test for potential moderating effects (e.g., sev erity of child disability, level of adaptive functioning) and putative mediating mechanisms (e.g., increases in coping and stress management skills). The outcome assessment will be expanded to include validated measures of global functioning and adjustment (e.g., the Social Adjustment Scale), depressive symptomatology (e.g., the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale), and stressful daily hassles (e.g., the Unpleasant Events Schedule). In addition, the efficacy trial will include a substantial fo llow-up period (e.g., three months) in order to examine the maintenance of program effects. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Parents with who have children with autism and other developmental disabilities (DD) face enormous psychological challenges, however little attention has been paid to these needs. Parents of children with autism and other DD experience high levels of chronic stress and tend to feel responsible and blamed for their children's conditions. The proposed research will address this major problem by developing a stress reduction program based on Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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