The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the feasibility and initial efficacy of a large-group, time-limited Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) adaptation for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and externalizing behavior problems (EBP).
Participants included parents of 37 preschoolers (Mage = 4.80, 87% Male, 73% Hispanic/Latino) with ASD and comorbid EBP. Parents reported on their positive and negative parenting practices and parenting stress at a pre-and-post treatment assessment as well as at a 6-month follow-up assessment. Positive and negative parenting skills were observed and coded during a parent-child interaction. Additionally, parents were objectively assessed on their knowledge of principles learned in treatment at pre-and-post-treatment.
The treatment was delivered with a high level of fidelity and was well received and attended by families. At post-treatment, parents reported improved parenting stress and parenting practices. Parents were also rated as engaging in more positive parenting skills and less negative parenting skills during play. Lastly, parents increased their knowledge of principles presented in treatment. Improvements in positive parenting practices were also maintained at a 6-month follow-up assessment.
Findings highlight the initial efficacy and transdiagnostic nature of group PCIT for improving outcomes for children with ASD and comorbid EBP.