Working on meaningfulness: Efficacy of a pilot program to improve psychological well-being of parents of children with autism spectrum disorders
Helena Gandía-Abellán, Carmen Nieto, and María Márquez-González
The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has increased notably in recent decades. There is extensive scientific literature on the impact of raising a child with ASD on parent’s wellbeing. Among the factors involved in parent’s wellbeing, the sense of coherence (SOC) has demonstrated to have an important role. Meaningfulness (a specific component of SOC) appears to be a relevant variable to consider because of its own conceptualization and its differential relationship with other variables. However, despite the abundant literature, there is a lack of programs that asses or work in SOC, or in its meaningfulness component. In this work we present a pilot program based on values of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), because of its conceptual analogy, to increase meaningfulness of SOC. The program was carried out with a group of parents of children with ASD. As expected, the group which received the program showed a significant improvement in meaningfulness (not in the other components of SOC), in parental distress, depression, anxiety and social dysfunction.