A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2016 | Number 2, Volume 30

Mind-body therapy aids stressed parents

Therapists are increasingly incorporating mind-body therapies such as mindful meditation and breathing exercises into their practices, and a new study from Jordan indicates that these interventions can improve the quality of life of parents caring for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

Ahmad Rayan and Muayyad Ahmad enrolled 104 parents of children with ASD in their study. Half of the participants served as controls while the other half participated in a five-week mindfulness-based intervention (MBI). In this intervention, the parents learned the principles of mindfulness, which include observing, describing, and participating; nonjudgmental acceptance; distancing from thoughts; staying present; and being effective. They also learned breathing techniques. 

The researchers found that compared to controls, participants exhibited significant improvements in measures of psychological health, social relationships, mindfulness, and positive stress reappraisal (the ability to reframe an experience in a positive way—for instance, “I think I can become a stronger person as a result of what happened.”). They conclude, “MBI is a culturally adaptable, acceptable, and effective method to improve quality of life and positive stress reappraisal in parents of children with ASD.”


“Effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions on quality of life and positive reappraisal coping among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder,” Ahmad Rayan and Muayyad Ahmad, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 55, 2016, 185-96. Address: [email protected]