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Improving Emotion Regulation with CBT in Young Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Pilot Study

  • Angela Scarpa (a1) and Nuri M. Reyes (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1352465811000063
  • Published online: 04 April 2011
Abstract

Background and Aims: This pilot study tested the efficacy of a developmentally modified CBT for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to teach emotion regulation strategies for reducing anger and anxiety, commonly noted problems in this population. Method: Eleven 5–7 year-old children participated in a CBT-group while parents participated in psychoeducation. Children were randomly assigned to an experimental or delayed-treatment control group. Results: From pre- to post-treatment, all children had less parent reported negativity/lability, better parent reported emotion regulation, and shorter outbursts, and also generated more coping strategies in response to vignettes. Parents also reported increases in their own confidence and their child's ability to deal with anger and anxiety. Conclusions: This study suggests that young children with high functioning ASD may benefit from CBT to improve regulation of anger and anxiety, and parent training may improve parental self-efficacy. Future studies are needed to make conclusions about its efficacy.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Angela Scarpa, Virginia Tech – Psychology, 3110 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA. E-mail: ascarpa@vt.edu.
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A. Chalfant , R. Rapee and L. Carroll (2007). Treating anxiety disorders in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: a control trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 18421857. doi:10.1007/s10803–006-0318–4.

E. I. de Bruin , R. E. Ferdinand , S. Meester , P. F. de Nijs and F. Verheij (2007). High rates of psychiatric co-morbidity in PDD-NOS. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 877886. doi:10.1007/s10803–006-0215-x.

K. Sofronoff , T. Attwood and S. Hinton (2005). A randomized controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural intervention for anxiety in children with Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 11521160. doi:10.1111/j.1469–7610.2005.00411.x.

K. Sofronoff , T. Attwood , S. Hinton and I. Levin (2007). A randomized controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural intervention for anger management in children diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 12031214. doi: 10.1007/s10803–006-0262–3.

J. Wood , A. Drahota , K. Sze , K. Har , A. Chiu and D. Langer (2009). Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 224234. doi:10.1111/j.14697610.2008.01948.x.

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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
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